[caption id="attachment_4776" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Berwanger[/caption] At this point, the output of the Josh Berwanger Band is starting to rival that of the bands for which Berwanger was formerly best-know, the Anniversary and Only Children. The band's just finished recording their second LP, and just release their third single -- a split with power-pop idol Dwight Twilley -- on Good Land Records. We asked Berwanger a few questions via e-mail about the split and his upcoming plans. The Josh Berwanger Band seems to follow an older release model: several singles, then an LP. What's the rationale behind that? I want to consistently have something coming out on a format to keep people interested until the next LP comes out. Back in the day, bands were able to put out a record a year and still be relevant. Nowadays, from recording the record to the time a label needs to set it up properly it takes nearly a year. Whose idea was it to do a split with Dwight Twilley? This was something I was talking to Jonny Phillip of Good Land Records about one day. We often talk on the phone about what albums we've been listening to, and then I mentioned how much I love Twilley's Jungle LP. Then from there the idea of doing a split with him spawned. Where does "Some Other Guy" come from -- was it recorded for this split, or a leftover from something else? We were in rehearsals for an upcoming tour, and in-between songs in our setlist Ricky started playing "Crazy Horses" by The Osmonds. After 15 minutes of jamming on it, we had the song down. The first day on tour, I thought when we get back we should record "Crazy Horses" at Element Studios. I booked the studio. As we were on the road we started listening to all the layers that song had and thought to do it right, we would need more then a day. So, we ended up recording "Some Other Guy" instead. When's the next album coming out? It's done. No word on when its coming out yet. The plan now is to play all new songs at SXSW and then we have a tour with Field Mouse and Lithuania (a Dr. Dog side band) in May and June. In that time, there should be a better idea on the release date. How did you come to work with Jay Shaw for all your releases? I've been a huge fan of Jay's work for some years now. When I was halfway done recording Strange Stains, I sent him an email with some songs as well as some images of early Eastern European movie poster art that I love. I figured he wouldn't respond or not have the time to work with me. But he wrote back and said he dug the tunes and also loved those posters, as well. We just kept talking and from there have developed a great friendship. It's very true: if you don't ask, the answer is always no. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6oMHHmm_Pw[/embed] The Josh Berwanger Band plays an electric, full band set and Dwight Twilley plays acoustic as part of the release party for their split 7-inch this Saturday, March 7, at Love Garen Sounds in Lawrence. You can also purchase the Twilley / Berwanger split from Good Land Records on some gorgeous splatter vinyl, limited to 100 copies.
Handclaps. Sing-alongs. Jangly guitars. It's been weird to hear Josh Berwanger's songs on develop live over the last year or so, and then hear them in their final, polished form on Strange Stains. Some of the songs here are so much different that it almost takes a moment to get what you're listening to. "Mary," for instance, has this chunky guitar riff live that, on album, becomes strummed acoustic guitar. It goes from power-pop to something almost folksy in its recorded form -- all stomps and hanclaps. While that power-pop live version is killer, the folksy rendention just shows the strength of Berwanger's songs -- the presentation can change entirely, and I'll still love 'em. "Baby Loses Her Mind" has been the centerpiece of the Berwanger live shows, and it's much the same here. With it's Tom Petty-esque chorus, and the way the instruments drop out at one point, just leaving vocals and handclaps? It's fucking magic. Like the majority of the tracks on Strange Stains, there's an AM-radio vocal effect, just adding to the album's timeless quality. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/brixton-agency-pr/josh-berwanger-baby-loses-her[/embed] "All Night Long" could've been written at any point since 1960, really -- it's one of those songs like "Someday, Someway" by Marshall Crenshaw or Nick Lowe's "Cruel to Be Kind," reaching all the way back to the Everly Brothers and proto rock to create a song that sound simultaneously familiar and refreshingly new. Dig the amazing front cover by Jay Shaw, as well. He's known for his work with Mondo and Death Waltz, and it's cool to see his style applied to something unique, rather than an interpretation of someone else's work for once. Not going to lie, though -- the name on the front of Strange Stains is Josh Berwanger, but the live shows have featured both the names Berwanger and the Josh Berwanger Band, and it's fucking confusing. Pick a name, dude. I kid. Regardless of the name, you should totally snag a copy of Strange Stains from the Goodland Records store. There's a pre-order LP version, limited to 100 copies on red vinyl you might be able to snag if you get your order in before it gets released tomorrow.