Honest Iago Explores Grandness, Tranquility With "Cascade Nights" (premiere)

Photo: Kelly McGillicuddy / Courtesy of Clarion Call Media

Punk rock and Americana come together on Honest Iago's blazing new track "Cascade Nights".

"Cascade Nights", a track taken from the upcoming Honest Iago (pronounced "yah-go") LP, 29 Palms (due 27 July), strikes listeners with its powerful pop tendencies, its crunchy hooks, and its ability to walk a line between punk energy and Americana-esque truths. Fans of Against Me!, Lucero and Crooked Fingers will revel in the track's particular charms.

Formed in San Diego 13 years ago, the group went through a rotating cast of characters before the storied 2009 lineup of Matt Fradkin, Nick Norton, Craig Vermeyen and Hunter Knight recorded the LP Straight on 'Til Morning. A follow-up became a complex prospect as members were scattered at locales as diverse as Oakland and Paris, Seattle and Edinburgh at various times across the intervening years. With Fradkin and Norton finally gathered together just outside Joshua Tree to finish writing the material, Honest Iago entered the studio with producer Nick Tipp (the National, the Decemberists) to go about the business of recording 29 Palms.

Reflecting on the process, Fradkin, who is also a pediatrician said, "When we were writing songs for this new album it was my first time since starting on the path to medicine that I really had time to reflect on what the last 10-15 years meant to me, and how much growing up my friends and I did during that time. I asked myself if there were certain moments that I thought made me 'grow up' more than others, or certain things or events that really led to where I was at that time. I came to the realization that the biggest moments were these quiet times where the gravity of the situation was understood or communicated without words or sound. And how even without communication I knew that those moments were really different and really special, an exaggerated gut/heart feeling."

The various changes he'd undergone in that time were reflected in personal milestones as well as geographical shakeups. "The times that this feeling had the biggest impact on my life over the last decade or so, and made me grow up the most, were the first time I kissed my now wife and the moment I knew I wanted to move to Washington," Fradkin continues. "Both had similar backdrops, and both had similar feelings associated with them: the total fear and anxiety of the unknown mixed with the willingness to finally listen to your heart and be completely satisfied with a decision no matter the outcome."

Retreating to rural Idaho, he notes, to finish the songs added something to the soaring/blink-of-an-eye tendencies of the album as a whole and "Cascade Nights" in particular. "To make this relatable and convey that feeling, that sense of grand moments in tranquility, there was no better way than getting out into nature and getting lost in the grandeur of it all. That is why we wanted the song to have this sort of traveling, I-am-going-on-a-road-trip, going-camping-in-the-Cascades vibe", he offers. "I really want people to blast this song in their cars with their friends on the way to a great summer adventure they will never forget."

29 Palms, out July 27, may be ordered here.

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