Dave Hause / Rocky Votolato

Dave Hause / Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato (10:00 PM)

Dave Hause (9:00 PM)

Chris Farren (8:15 PM)

Tue, August 25, 2015

7:30 pm

$15.00

This event is all ages

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Rocky Votolato - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Rocky Votolato
Over the course of the last 15 years, Rocky Votolato has produced some of the most powerful music to come out of Seattle, an impressive canon anchored by earnest, lyrical songwriting, and delivered in a unique indie-folk-punk style that has evolved out of the Pacific Northwest music scene he was raised in. He has matured over the course of seven increasingly accomplished solo albums, and writes songs that seem to have been scratched into a boxcar wall by a worn-out and lonesome ghost. He has recently finished work on his eighth solo album with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) and has plans to release the new album on No Sleep Records in the spring of 2015 with extensive touring to follow.

But this isn’t just another album. The new full length, Hospital Handshakes, will mark a turning point in Rocky’s career, the end result of a tumultuous transition that began with the songwriter second-guessing his gift and even considering retiring from music.

Those doubts began to creep in shortly after the release of his seventh album, Television of Saints, in 2012. The wellspring of songs that had flowed out of him since his days in post-punk group Waxwing and through six critically acclaimed solo albums had stopped. “It became painful for me to make music,” Votolato recalls. “I was hemmed in by the construct of who I thought I was supposed to be and I stopped believing in myself as a writer. On the surface I looked like a functioning artist, but behind the scenes I was completely blocked creatively, fighting a battle with severe depression, and struggling to keep my sanity.”

By the time he had finished the cycle for that album—culminating with a tour with mewithoutYou—Rocky had not written a new song in more than a year.

Frustrated, he decided to get off the road for a while and sought therapy for his deteriorating mental health. It was then, in the summer of 2014, that the creative floodgates finally opened and he recommitted himself to his music with a renewed passion and sense of purpose.

In the following 3 months alone, Rocky wrote more than 25 new songs. In October he took the new batch of songs into the Hall of Justice studio in Seattle, working in the same room where he created one of his most beloved albums, 2003’s Suicide Medicine. There he collaborated with Chris Walla, an old friend who is going through his own transition after recently retiring from his longtime role as guitarist and producer for Death Cab for Cutie. Speaking on his own involvement, Walla says, “This collection of songs hit me really hard, and at a really good time. It’s shaping up to be a visceral and tactile album; the band is incredible, and Rocky’s writing is spring tight right now. This is a good one.”

Hospital Handshakes, is a surprisingly positive exploration that examines themes of healing from trauma, overcoming depression, spiritual longing and finding true meaning in life. “I feel like this record was all about pushing the boundaries of what I’m capable of creatively, experimenting with collaboration, and finding a new environment for the kind of lyric focused songwriting that I’ve always loved,” Votolato explains. “To stay on the path of a life in music I knew I was gonna have to find a new direction and step outside of my comfort zone. It wasn’t always easy but I’m so excited about the energy this album captures and can’t wait to share these songs with people.”

Teaming up with a standout cast of Seattle musicians, including his brother Cody Votolato on electric guitar (The Blood Brothers), Eric Corson on bass (The Long Winters), Andy Lum on drums (Craft Spells/My Goodness), and Casey Foubert contributing Aux instrumentation (Sufjan Stevens), the album that will emerge promises to be unlike anything Rocky has released before. At the core of Rocky’s new music is the same earnest, impassioned, seeking voice, but now with a little more perspective, the product of self-realization hard-earned from a period of darkness and doubt. “I’m writing about trauma,” Votolato says. “A lot of the material I’m working with is dark and scary, but I know there is light and healing coming through in the process, and I hope that will show up in the music as well.”
Dave Hause - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Dave Hause
“The way we learned to live is fading fast/I guess we never bargained for a crash.”

For Dave Hause the American dream is a broken promise, a childhood ideal that has been shattered by the reality of the past two decades. On the musician’s second solo album, Devour, Hause scours the foundation of that crumbled dream in an attempt to discover how everything we believed growing up could have turned out so differently. The album, initially written to become the third record from Hause’s rock band The Loved Ones, follows his 2011 solo debut Resolutions, a disc that allowed the musician to understand his potential as his own artist.

As Hause, a Philadelphia native, began penning new music for a new album from The Loved Ones, it became clear that the group, who had taken a break after their second album, had stalled. These songs, however, which showcased a clear thematic journey, were meant to be vocalized by Hause and over the past few years he transformed them into Devour. Hause solidified the album’s sequence before even going into the studio, aiming to craft a narrative arc that drove the album from its dark, heavy first half into a lighter, more hopeful tone. A thematic line of melody runs through the songs, reflecting the overarching ideas in the music itself. The disc explores the heartbreak of shattered childhood promises of a better world and concludes with optimistic hope.

“Devour is about that inherent American appetite,” Hause says. “It’s in all the songs in some degree. There’s a reason why Tony Soprano became such a huge American icon – he’s this guy with this insane appetite for women and food and power. I think for the American public to latch onto a figure like that says something. Some of the positive things about America come from that as well, but there’s a real sense of reckoning that comes from devouring everything in front of you. Is it ever enough?”

The rock songs, tinged with folk and punk tones, are firmly rooted in Hause’s own upbringing and the sensibility that comes from growing up in a blue collar neighborhood driven by the lingering anticipation of upward mobility. In the lyrics, the fulcrum around which the album revolves, Hause grapples with this working class ideal and the fact that America’s recent shifts have caused it to no longer fit. From “The Great Depression,” which centers on the unfulfilled promises laid out in the Reagan-era ‘80s, to the more specific-minded relationships of “Father’s Son,” Devour comes to terms with the loss of youthful innocence in a rapidly evolving world.

“I wanted to shine a light back on what was going on,” Hause says. “It was a topic that was close to me and I wanted to write about it. In the end, it leaves you with the idea that if you have music and love you may be able to save yourself. It’s going to be alright. That simple John Lennon concept of all you need is love. That’s how I wrote myself out of the dark and the music begs the listener to come take that risk as well.”

Once Hause had the track sequence and overall narrative in place he enlisted producer Andrew Alekel along with musician and co-producer Mitchell Townsend. The producers helped Hause collect the right musicians to build the songs in the best way possible, including My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster, Social Distortion drummer David Hidalgo Jr. and bassist Bob Thomson. Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba and The Watson Twins also appear on several tracks. Hause and his crew recorded the album over several weeks from mid-February to mid-March at Grandmaster Recorders LTD. in Hollywood, CA, focusing on giving each song the right tone while maintaining an overall musical aesthetic that helps tie the lyrical themes together.

“It was this group effort,” Hause says. “A lot of trust went into letting Andrew and Mitch be the architects of the record. I trusted that we would get in there and they would know who was right for the music. They wanted to bring these people together in this great studio to get a record that was greater than the sum of its parts. I’m glad I trusted them because it was great to work with everyone there.”

For the musician, who has toured with Social Distortion, The Gaslight Anthem, Bouncing Souls and Chuck Ragan since launching his solo career, Devour is a cathartic release, both sonically and lyrically. Hause recently relocated to California and is committed to pursing the music he feels best reflects him individually. The journey on the album, the search for the light at the end of the tunnel, mirrors his own trek. The record closes with the delicate introspection of “Benediction,” a song that pulls lyrical lines from all the tracks that precede it. After all the ruined promises and the culminating disappointments of the world, Hause ends the album with the sentiment of possibility. “It’s love my friend in the end that can save us tonight,” he sings. “So are you in?”
Chris Farren - (Set time: 8:15 PM)
Chris Farren
Chris Farren will be the first to tell you he’s a “musician’s musician” although he’s not really sure what that means. Maybe it means that the Florida-based musician has been grinding it out for over a decade, making endless friends along the way. The charismatic frontman of the Naples band Fake Problems has toured with everyone from Against Me! to The Gaslight Anthem to Say Anything.
But as Fake Problems has been eerily quiet since the release of their full-length, 2010’s Real Ghosts Caught on Tape, Farren has been branching out and dipping his toes into other waters. He recently unveiled his two-man project with Bomb the Music Industry!’s Jeff Rosenstock called Antarctigo Vespucci, a refreshingly unpretentious pop machine. He’s also been stripping things down and experimenting with solo material. Farren recently released a split EP with Grey Gordon, Ducks Fly Together. Without the comfort of a backing band, the self-made Verified Twitter user is seeing how far he can get on his own, with nothing but a ton of inspiration and a good reputation. After all, Chris Farren is a musician’s musician. Ask anyone, just not him.
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change