Hi. Hey. HEY! I have a new add this week and I can’t even believe who it is. Um, did you guys know that Owen Ashworth, who formerly called his music CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE, is now releasing material as Advance Base? DID YOU KNOW THAT MY NEXT ADD IS ADVANCE BASE?!?!?! MY NEXT ADD IS ADVANCE BASE!!!
I’ve been a major big-time over-enthusiastic fan of Owen Ashworth’s for several years. I first heard of him when I was a college radio DJ (FULL CIRCLE!!!). My last.fm profile will tell you he is my all-time seventh-favorite artist. My Top Stuff of 2009 list will tell you he put out my third-favorite album of that whole year. And in this review I wrote for the Tripwire about that album (before that year was over, naturally), looong before I met the guy or had any inkling I’d ever be working with him, the first sentence reads, “I’ve heard my favorite record thus far of 2009”. When we first started exchanging emails this year, Owen told me he remembered reading that review back then and being “really touched” by it, which I honestly think has a lot to do with how I ended up snagging this incredible album as a Band Mom project. Basically I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve been setting myself up for this very moment ever since my college days, and at several other points since then. I AM NOT FOOLING AROUND HERE, YOU GUYS!!! This is a huge deal!!! For my life, and for college radio, because this album is SO GREAT!! It’s sweet, and smart, and sad, and full of characters (some of them female) who may or may not be heavily-veiled autobiography: in short, it’s an Owen Ashworth album. YOU HAVE TO HEAR THIS THING!!
The record is being released on vinyl & digital download via Orindal Records (Owen’s own label, which has also done stuff with his brother Concern, anticon.-associated rapper Serengeti, and more), and also on CD through Caldo Verde, which is run by Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon & Red House Painters. OMG!!
Also, is it a coincidence that both of my most recent 2 artists (the other of course being Eliza Rickman‘s O, You Sinners) are from Chicago and have titles (and lyrics) with vaguely sad religious overtones?! I DON’T KNOW, IS IT?! I’M TOO EXCITED ABOUT THIS TO THINK ANY MORE!!!
A SHUT-IN’S PRAYER
Advance Base is the new musical project by Chicago, Illinois singer, songwriter, & producer Owen Ashworth (formerly of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone). A Shut-In’s Prayer is Ashworth’s first full-length release in over three years, & his first under the name Advance Base. Recorded at home & in piano practice rooms at the Chicago Public Library, A Shut-In’s Prayer is an intimate collection of deliberately crafted but decidedly lo-fi torch songs, waltzes & ballads. Accompanying himself on his Rhodes 54 electric piano, Ashworth sings nostalgic stories about lost loves, childhood friends, estranged siblings, & hard feelings over simple drum machine rhythms & spare percussion. The additional arrangements that fill out these ten songs intertwine gentle upright piano melodies & expansive electric bass, filling the spaces between plainly-sung harmony vocals & strummed autoharp chords, with the occasional creaking floorboard or snapping reverb spring to remind you of the cramped rooms where this album was recorded. It’s a different sound than one might expect from the dude from Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, but Ashworth’s keen ear for melody & idiosyncratic skill as a lyricist have only improved in recent years, pushing his memorable songwriting in all new directions. At age 35, Ashworth has a lot of music left in him, & he’s just getting started again.
“A smart progression from Ashworth’s Casiotone recordings, presenting that project’s bittersweet introspection with more nuanced production.” –Jenn Pelly, Pitchfork
RIYL: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Smog, No Kids, Parenthetical Girls, Mark Kozelek, Mount Eerie, Xiu Xiu, Magnetic Fields
Start With: 1, 2, 6 FCC CLEAN
Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep (this one’s almost exclusively a download)!
http://www.lowtimespodcast.com/lt_episodes/001/ (Owen Ashworth on the debut episode of the excellent Low Times podcast)