John Vanderslice wrote the bulk of his new album while knee-deep in legal limbo after a visa application for his girlfriend, a French national he met in Paris, was rejected by US Immigration.
The songs and themes in Emerald City are fueled by an era of deep insecurity and paranoia; they develop in front of a backdrop of ritualized and mythologized current events. Lyrically, JV's characters and storytellers track Manifest Destiny from burning wagon wheels to two-bedroom homes with full amenities in Bakersfield, California. Along that rough road, there are bewildered commemorations, peace-lovers and revenge-lusters, psychotic reactions to unnamed episodes, and the grief-stricken and the vengeance-hungry wrapped up in the same skin. Weaving throughout the entire album is the ever present danger of opposition. But at its simplest, and captured with straight autobiography in album closer "Central Booking", Emerald City is made up of JV's love songs confused and angry, afraid and defeated.
Emerald City was tracked quickly, and mostly live at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. The album was performed by David Broecker, Dave Douglas, Ian Bjornstad, Scott Solter, and JV. The record's title refers to the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Previously only available outside of North America, this 13-track compilation culls selected tracks from JV's early solo material, with cover art featuring some of his beautiful tour photos.
"One of the most unique, talented and thoughtful producers working in indie rock today." (Pitchfork)
bark33 · CD / DIGITAL
Barsuk Records · January 2004
ppr022 · LP
Post-Parlo Records · April 2004
ar061 · LP
Afternoon Records · December 2009
"John Vanderslice [is] the most important songwriter of the moment. His songs depict loneliness and isolation with a rare warmth and clarity... Cellar Door never bogs down under the weight of its own headiness. At its heart, it's a perfect pop album, as hummable as it is thought-provoking." (Esquire)
"A great song craftsman, at times lush and psychedelic like Elephant 6, at times reminiscent of [Sunny Day Real Estate's] Jeremy Enigk's frog days, often arty and a tad obtuse á la Shudder to Think hard to describe, but well worth looking into. Two great CDs are already out and a third is on the way this May." (Village Voice)
"Time Travel is Lonely is not only Vanderslice's most ambitious record but perhaps the most ambitious record of the new century." (AudioGalaxy)
"Much ballyhooed...darkly grand." (San Francisco Examiner) "Music to drink tea to in a late fall day." (dogprint)
A pitch-perfect collection written and recorded with the utmost care and attention. A symphony of sounds both subtle and lush.
Twelve tracks from Pixel Revolt done with nothing but acoustic guitar and JV's voice, recorded live in a chicken coop in California. Intimate and intense. Limited edition pressing, packaged in a numbered slipcase sleeve.
Limited edition CD with songs from Cellar Door, remixed, tweaked and enhanced by Scott Solter and JV.
"These lads have created what is definitely one of the finest records to come out of San Francisco in ages." (San Francisco Bay Guardian)
"Original Motion Picture Soundtrack makes for one of the most intriguing things I've heard in awhile. Imagine an intellectual version of Pavement; history grad students, if you will. Repeated listens reveal subtle hooks, and a sound that can't be described in limited space." (Puncture)
"Four Stars. Mk Ultra has everything it takes to be a great British new wave/punk band: power pop harmonies, a neat bag of experimental studio tricks, smart lyrics, and short songs." (The Aquarian)