Supergroup features musicians from Wilco, Deerhoof and Tera Melos
By David Sands
May 2, 2017
Mike Watt has a new album coming out with an all-star ensemble that’s sure to turn some heads. And they’re flying under the banner Big Walnuts Yonder. Besides the Minutemen and Stooges bassist himself, BWY also features guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), drummer Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and guitarist/vocalist Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos).
With a hard-to-categorize sound that contains aspects of psychedelic rock, avant-garde experimentalism, proto-punk, funk, surf rock, free jazz and more, it’s not hard to see why Watt describes Big Walnuts Yonder not as a supergroup, but as “world’s colliding.”
Their self-titled debut comes out Friday (May 5) through the Sargent House record label. But if you’ve got an uncontrollable hankering to hear what they’ve been up to right now, you’re in luck because they already shared the album’s ten tracks online (LISTEN BELOW). The album’s cover features an arresting image by Raymond Pettibon, who’s known for his iconic illustrations for Black Flag and SST Records artists.
The first glimmer of Big Walnuts Yonder began with a 2008 discussion between Watt and Reinhart while their bands were touring together in Japan. The topic of Watt’s punk rock opera Contemplating the Engine Room (1997) came up and Reinhart asked what it was like collaborating with Nels Cline. Watt replied the best way to find out was to play with him. So they got in touch with Cline, and he agreed to join forces with them as long as Reinhart chose a drummer. Ultimately, Greg Saunier was chosen, to everyone’s mutual agreement.
Watt came up with the bass parts to eight of the songs, collaborating with Reinhart through online file sharing to develop the guitar elements prior to recording.
“I’m pretty sure the other guys didn’t have parts set before going into the studio,” Reinhart said in a statement. “Maybe we hadn’t discussed what we would do. But it’s interesting how a lot of the songs began as Mike Watt basslines, and everyone was able to pull songs and melodies out of them.”
Cline and Saunier also brought a song each to the recording sessions, which took place at Ex-Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone’s Studio G. in Brooklyn, New York in 2014. The musical parts were recorded mostly live and vocals (eight songs by Reinhart and two by Watts) were added several months later.
“Observing how these dudes are just hammering away so much later is inspiring. They’re still learning and exploring.” Watt said of his BWY colleagues. “It’s interesting that people are much more open-minded now. We were all just trying to be adventurous with music.”
Big Walnuts Yonder debut album will be released on Cinco de Mayo in LP, CD and digital download formats.
Big Walnuts Yonder track listing:
01. All Against All
02. Sponge Bath
03. Flare Star Phantom
04. I Got Marty Feldman Eyes
05. Raise the Drawbridges?
06. Read to Pop!
07. Forgot to Brush
08. Rapid Driver Moon Inhaler
10. Heat Melter
Title: Big Walnuts Yonder
Artist: Big Walnuts Yonder
Release: May 5, 2017
Label: Sargent House
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