His Clancyness, himself; Jonathan Clancy. (photo still from "Zenith Diamond" video courtesy of Pietro Borzì and Giulia Mazza)
With recent singles "Zenith Diamond" and "Progress" getting plays on the pods and stereos lately, it is our honor and privilege to introduce you to the Stateside advance stream exclusive from Ottawa by Bologna regals, His Clancyness's forthcoming album Vicious. Available this coming Tuesday, October 8 from FatCat Records; get into the alt rock realms of Jonathan Clancy's royal force to be reckoned with.
Opener "Safe Around The Edges" pays a trippy homage to the NYC rock of recent decades of yesterday, before "Miss Out These Days" sets sail on a synthesizer sustain that bookends a thoughtful acoustic song. "Gold Diggers" presents some infectious balladry that immediately warrants repeat listens for further interest and insight, as the guitar shined rhythmic pacing on "Hunting Men" takes you hot on the trail into the thick of night and on the prowl. With the evening feeling cast in full, "Slash the Night" returns with those synth keys ingrained with a heart slashed delivery and moods.
Turning toward the second cycle of Vicious, "Run Wild" kicks things into a higher frequency and gear. "Machines" is a brighter presentation of the band's dronier sides where Jonathan battles against the backbeat of rhythm machine mechanics. "Avenue" brings a soft, heartbroken soliloquy that repeats the melancholia of, "knowing that it won't work out", before "Crystal Clear" seeks a certain born-again refinement through a clarity of vision (plus more great droning sounds). "Zenith Diamond" shines with a garage birthed luster more valuable than pearls and rubies. Building monuments out of pebbles strewn on far away coasts, "Castle Sand Ambient" cruises into the therapeutic textures of Autumn's atmospheres. "Progress" salutes heroes, friends, and influences of the past in a song that seeks "no end", channeling a musical painted love for Pollock, Swell Maps, and pays a tribute to Jonathan's late great buddy, Chris Reimer of Women.
After having His Clancyness join us recently for a discussion, it was cool picking up where we left off with frontman Jonathan Clancy as we dig into the savage heart of his new album, Vicious, and his love of Swell Maps; all over digital telegrams.
Jonathan, thanks again for your words in your Week in Pop feature the other week, that was rad. Thanks for taking the time to kick it with us via telegram-digitales.
No problem I love kicking it via telegram-digitales, makes my day feel wholesome.
What have the release festivities and album release preparations going on like for everyone involved with Vicious right now, what with it's release swinging into full effect?
We spent last weekend launching the record at a local club called Covo. Our main stress was finding the perfect cocktail specifically renamed for the event as Cocktail Vicious. It was hard to simulate a blood spot in the drink. Grenadine syrup proved the best viable option. All this helped, I didn't think of screwing up the last 12 bars of the songs Progress.
When you made the drifting sonic tracer-dazer "Castle Sand Ambient", were you actually working to forge a kind of sub-genre called, 'castle sand ambient', or are we taking this whole thing way too far?
I was looking at creating a simple structured texture song that could be as easy as a kid building a castle on a Croatian beach. Too bad it's all pebbles.
Closer "Progress" feels like an autobiographical coming of age song. How do you define the progress, via your sound, or general development, and why this track closing the album out?
It sort of is. This song was written immediately after seeing this documentary about Pollock. In particular about his way of living painting, and actually being physically immersed inside his work, having to feel it all surround him, outdoors, close to home, using big areas and painting direct things. Musically I liked the idea of a driving road song with that idea of having a second section sort of like my heroes Swell Maps. The ending was written thinking of Chris Reimer from Women who sadly passed away way too young. First tour I ever did was with Women and we shared a love of Swell Maps and repetitive guitar parts. In the studio we got twin sisters Julie and Loretta Lucas to do some great vocal progression on the end of the song.
Is it in anyway a connection to the beginning of the album's narrative with the second song, "Miss Out These Days"?
Totally, a lot of this record deals with sort of letting go, saying it's ok to not be connected today to a screen, a phone. My main obsession is sort of bringing mystery a bit back to music although I'm usually just as guilty as everyone else of living life online. But in music, in artwork, in videos, I want it as much as possible to be about art.
Thoughts on the epic drum-machine groover, "Machines", and the use of machines in music?
It's a road jam gone wrong. Neil Young did the amazing "Trans". It's about feeling like a dog. I like machines that have knobs, a start, a stop, a play and they don't vibrate.
What is your end of 2013 game plan with the release of Vicious out into the world? What's next for His Clancyness?
Becoming His Viciousness in many cities. Get back into recording late night jams at home.
Thanks again for entertaining our questions, Jonathan. Vicious is a rad disc.
Thanks, rad questions.
Vicious will be available October 8 from FatCat Records.
Pre-order comes with a limited edtion fanzine-foldout courtesy of Italian media imprint, Secret Furry Hole. Here you will find images of the band recording Vicious in Detroit, plus the responses from the following bands who describe their connative narratives behind the word Vicious: Women, Okkervil River, Veronica Falls, The Fresh & Onlys, Sonny & The Sunsets, Tim Cohen, Cloud Nothings, Snailhouse, Belle Orchestre, Spakkiano, A Classic Education, In Zaire, Massimo Volume, British Sea Power, Maximo Park, Bad Meds, Hot Club De Paris, Chris Brokaw, Codeine, Polaroid Blog, Diaframma, Dead Gaze, Giardini di Mirò, La Belle Epop, Wolther Goes Stranger, The Hairs, Cut, Love Inks, David Singer, Mirror Universe Tapes, Widowspeak, and more.
Catch Jonathan and company on the following tour dates:
04 - George Best, Napoli, IT
05 - Tender Club, Firenze, IT
10 - Astoria, Turin, IT
12 - Ligera, Milano, IT
17 - Circolo Degli Artisti, Rome, IT
18 - Always Never again at B-Side, Cosenza, IT
06 - BBC Introducing presents at Oakford Social, reading, UK
07 - Clwb Ifor Bac, Cardiff, UK
09 - Start The Bus, Bristol, UK (supporting No Joy)
10 - Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton, UK
12 - Fallow, Manchester, UK
14 - Broadcast, Glasgow, UK
15 - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds, UK
16 - Hare and Hounds, Birmingham, UK
22 - The Lexington, London, UK
26 - Espace B, Paris, FR