Following the recent announcement of ‘Varshons 2’, out in early 2019, The Lemonheads return with second track ‘Old Man Blank’, covering British cult rockers The Bevis Frond (taken from their acclaimed album‘Triptych’).
It’s nearly ten years since The Lemonheads strummed to a halt on their ninth studio album, a perky well received set of covers that brought together many unlikely bedfellows (Gibby Haynes produced, Kate Moss did a cameo vocal).
“Gram Parsons, Wire, and GG Allin: You’d be hard pressed to find three more disparate rock acts, yet on ‘Varshons’ they all sound like the Lemonheads – boppy, overcast alt-rock delivered at a fast clip and sung in a whiskey tenor” claimed Pitchfork.
But, there again, Lemonheads’ mainman Evan Dando has this strange ability – he could sing his order for a takeaway over the phone and make it into an achy three-minute epic fit for any bar. Indeed, many moons ago when Bush was dallying with the big red button over a Middle East catastrophe, he delivered an impromptu ‘Eve Of Destruction’ losing his sunglasses due to added angst.
Like then, Dando’s vocal twang pulled the edgy extremes of ‘Varshons’ into a seemingly hap hazard selection from some old hokey jukebox and ‘Varshons 2’, the band’s follow up repeats the formula with Evan way out upfront, his emotive slow maturing vocal making sense of another wide-beam playlist. He really has become one of the great expressive singers.
Like Hank Williams slumped in his car between gigs, strumming and hollering, reasoning and weeping, humming it on over, Evan makes the tunes his own. He heralds the heroes, from Nick Cave and The Bevis Frond through to Yo La Tengo, Lucinda Williams and Paul Westerberg. These are stories to spin, tales to recount, none more so than John Prine’s endless highway on ‘Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness’ and The Jayhawks maudlin beauty ‘Settled Down Like Rain’.
As the white line carries forever on, the radio butts in and the Lemonheads reveal The Eyes’ raucous ‘TAQN’ before descending into the echoey nuance of The GiveGoods’ gorgeous ‘Unfamiliar’ – a tune Dando penned with former Smudge man Tom Morgan, a kind of drive by drug run of confusion that’s hits like a Kerouac Om.
The NME reported on ‘V1’ that The Lemonheads were ‘no strangers to a cover’, concluding that ‘the grunge-pop heroes perfect the art.’ On ‘Varshons 2’ they take a fork in the road that leads them deeper into the woods with Dando crooning woebegone nursery rhymes from darker days, turning The Eagles’ ‘Take It Easy’ into a road tale to end them all… “It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford, Slowin’ down to take a look at me…” Crack a fifth of gin.
Produced by Matthew Cullen and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Beastie Boys, Nirvana, The Ramones),‘Varshons 2’ will be released February 8th on limited edition banana-scented ‘scratch ‘n’ sniff’ sleeve and coloured vinyl, CD and download.
LIVE SHOWS 2019:
(NORTH AMERICAN DATES TO FOLLOW)
(NORTH AMERICAN DATES TO FOLLOW)
6: DUBLIN, IRELAND – ACADEMY
7: CORK, IRLEAND – CYPRUS AVENUE
8: BELFAST, UK – ELMWOOD HALL
9: GLASGOW, UK – SWG3
11: NEWCASTLE, UK – WYLAM
12: MANCHESTER, UK – RITZ
13: LEEDS, UK – STYLUS
14: CAMBRIDGE, UK – JUNCTION
15: BIRMINGHAM, UK – ACADEMY
17: SOUTHAMPTON, UK – ENGINE ROOMS
18: BRISTOL, UK – SWX
19: LONDON, UK – FORUM
21: UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS – VREDENBURG PANDORA
22: LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG – ROTONDES
23: ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – MASCOTTE
24: BOLOGNA, ITALY – LOCOMOTIV
26: MILAN, ITALY – BIKO
27: ZAGREB, CROATIA – CULTURE FACTORY
28: VIENNA, AUSTRIA – CHELSEA
1: MUNICH, GERMANY – AMPERE
3: BERLIN, GERMANY – SO36
4: COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – PUMPEHUSET
5: OSLO, NORWAY – BLAA
6: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – NALEN
8: HAMBURG, GERMANY – MOLOTOW
9: LIÈGE, BELGIUM – REFLEKTOR
10: PARIS, FRANCE – GIBUS CLUB
‘VARSHONS 2’ TRACKLISTING:
Can’t Forget (Yo La Tengo)
Settled Down Like Rain (Jayhawks)
Old Man Blank (The Bevis Frond)
Things (Paul Westerberg)
Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (John Prine)
Abandoned (Lucinda Williams)
Now And Then (Natural Child)
Round Here (Florida Georgia Line)
TAQN (The Eyes)
Unfamiliar (The GiveGoods)
Straight To You (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)
Take It Easy (The Eagles)