A Normal and Natural Part of the Breeding Season

Posted by – February 4, 2012

J Roland Kelly Internalizes Iterations of the Prisoner's Dilemma

Last Fall when I came back from India, I had the bloodlust that people have when they want to make a new album. I had songs written and I wanted to see some of them die.

I had accumulated a lot of rough recordings meant only as demos since my last release. The original plan was to try and be more professional about what I release and to make sure it’s recorded well — which I can do sometimes — but when I arranged these rough recordings into a playlist what I heard was amazing.

The tracks center around a common theme, yet I heard myself singing about diverse topics such as a car I sold in 2008, about being 30 when I wasn’t, and about an earthquake that happened in 2008 only a few miles from where I taught English in 2004.

In fact there are a lot of references to 2008 on this record — it has to do with the fact that most of the tracks were recorded during a week in June of 2008 only three months after the release of my last album. The rest were recorded at the Grand Hotel during my stint living in Quito the following year. Every song on this album was written and recorded before the summer of 2009.

I decided it wasn’t worth it to go over this material again — in a lot of ways I mean emotionally — so I’m going to be Neil Young about it and release the demos as the album.

I did my best to clean it up: some of the tracks are the best parts of different takes, occasionally I had to shout into the album from the future, but mostly every pop and stumbled over lyric is intact. Brace yourself because it is completely recorded through the built-in microphone of a MacBook Pro. Okay, I don’t want to say too much about technique because at the end of J Roland Kelly Taunts the Process …into Attacking, the last installment, I hid the process under the sea.

The new album is called J Roland Kelly Internalizes Iterations of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, it will be released May 1st and the songs are as follows:

1. Wenchuan

2. Bring Chemlights (Song for Circa 2008 John Darnielle)

3. Paid!

4. One Secret Goal

5. En la Avenida de los Volcanes

6. Debts Public and Private

7. Click-Click. Let’s Do the Whole Village

8. Everything that Needs Sunlight

9. Return Home

10. ArcLight Swiftcurrent

11. Gallery Space

12. Ayn Loveth

13. The Nariz Del Diablo Train

14. The Wes Anderson Slide

This album represents the end of the low-rent trilogy that started with J Roland Kelly, Stop Your Nursing Unless You’re Rendering Fun. I feel it’s a fitting end, I made the full transition from spoken word to song form and we should all observe a moment of silence. 78 tracks is a long time.
The artist Lauren McWhorter illustrated the album cover. She nailed it. It captures the subtle darkness in this album that permeates everything.

Because of the fan noise of my laptop in a tropical environ, the album also has the warm hiss of a cassette tape about it, and if you look at the album cover you can almost imagine it’s one of those cool indie early 90s tapes. This is not unintentional, the second track was written for the elder statesman of such tapes.

I feel I should warn you, if you listen to this album, you might have to deal with the angry dead. It’s best to be prepared.


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