Slaughter Beach, Dog
w/ Erin Rae
Saturday, April 27
Doors 7pm / Show 8pm
All ages / Partially Seated
General Admission Standing Advance: $20
GA Standing Day of Show: $25
Reserved Seat Advance: $25 - $30
Reserved Seat Day of Show: $30 - $35
About Slaughter Beach, Dog:
From the Desk of Craig Finn
I just got off the phone with Jake Ewald. He says hello.
I called him to tell him I’ve been digging the new Slaughter Beach Dog album he’d sent me. I’d been playing it around the house a lot, and had a question about it. He picked up on the first ring and told me that it’s called Crying Laughing Waving Smiling and that it’s going to come out on September 22nd on Lame-O Records. That wasn’t really my question, but I guess it’s good to know.
I actually called to ask him if his van really got stolen. He mentions it in one of my favorite songs on the record, called “Engine”. I’ve been a fan of Slaughter Beach Dog for a little while now, and I know that Jake can tell a fantastic story, though I also know a great storyteller can stretch the truth. But Jake said his van really did get stolen in 2020, right at the top of the pandemic.
It’s also true that just a little while later he moved from Philadelphia, where he’d been living for a decade, to a house in the Poconos. Once there, he found he had less distraction and a calmer mind. He started going for walks and listening to music. He found some new appreciation for the “old guys”, as he said on the phone- Neil Young, Randy Newman, Tom Waits, those types. Personally, I’d call them the “classic guys”, but I’m a bit older so I’m probably somewhat defensive about age.
Anyways, to me it seems like some of this might have led to an old school approach to making a record. In July 2022, the whole Slaughter Beach, Dog band (Jake, Zach, Ian, Adam, Logan) gathered at their long time studio The Metal Shop back in Philly with a bunch of songs Jake had written over the past two years. Jake would show them a new song, singing and playing an acoustic guitar, and then the band would all play what they were hearing for the song. Classic, human, and not overthought.
They’d talked before entering the studio about this approach: emphasising the instinctual, not being afraid, listening to each other. The band caught fire. They captured fifteen songs in the first five days. The priority throughout was serving the song. I’ve been listening for days now. I can tell you these songs got served.
There’s beautiful space in everything. It’s patient and aware.
I’ve always admired Jake’s eye for detail, and it’s on full display here. It’s an album filled with gorgeous imagery and vivid worlds are built within each song. I see it all. He careens around the country (New Jersey, Baton Rouge, San Antonio, Florida, Georgia) and engages his tastebuds (spinach, cheddar, caviar, buttercream, margaritas). He’s tender in bars and funny in cars. And vice versa. Most impressively to me, he consistently finds the divine and sacred in the everyday: church pews in a diner, toast bearing the image of Christ.
It’s my opinion that every record is about growing up- we all have to get a little older before we make the next one. But Crying Laughing Waving Smiling examines a particular weightlessness that is part of spreading wings, putting down roots, trying to grab a hold of something. This is how it feels when you’re making the moves that you make while becoming the person that you’re going to be.
A few months back I watched Slaughter Beach Dog play a sold out club in Brooklyn. The band was awesome, and the audience sang every damn one of the words to their songs back to them. It was impressive. But I know it’s not effortless, and Jake Ewald has been persistent. Starting with Modern Baseball, he’s led two different bands over countless tours of this country. He’s gathered fans around the world. He’s dedicated his life to rock and roll. He told me that sounds dramatic. Probably, but it’s also true.
So as much as it speaks to our own modern age, my favorite part of this record is its timelessness. Before I got off the phone with Jake, I told him that this sounds like a record we’ll listen to in ten years, twenty years, beyond. It should get more and more people into Slaughter Beach Dog and the already deep catalog of music they’ve built. Next time I see the band, there will be even more people singing every word of every song. I’ll be in the back of the room, raising a toast to my pal Jake, congratulating him on the success of this fantastic record.
I just hope he’ll still take my calls.
About Erin Rae:
Three years after the release of her critically acclaimed debut, Putting On Airs, Nashville-raised singer-songwriter Erin Rae shares an intimate, honest, and playful version of herself through her sophomore album Lighten Up. Produced by Jonathan Wilson, and recorded in the musically hallowed grounds of California’s Topanga Canyon, the album represents a sonic and inner shift for Rae. In it, she embraces more of her influences, like baroque-pop, cosmic country, and indie-folk songs while mirroring a more compassionate self-view she calls “accepting my humanness”.
Although she grew up in a musically oriented family, Rae’s pursuit of music happened by accident. After being gifted a Martin acoustic guitar on her 18th birthday, Rae decided to drop out of college after just one semester. Her goal at the time had little to do with making music into a career, and everything to do with spending more time and energy with the community of musicians and writers she knew back home. Looking back on those days, she recalls the initial high of playing live at an open mic during winter break and realizing, “this is how I connect with people. I have to pursue this.”
Rae has continued to connect with people through her music ever since, performing at mainstays like Newport Folk Festival, Red Rocks Amphitheater, and sharing stages with Father John Misty, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jenny Lewis, Jason Isbell, and Iron & Wine. The success of Putting On Airs also earned her a nomination for Emerging Act of The Year at the 2019 Americana Music Awards alongside other trailblazing artists like Yola, Jade Bird, and J.S. Ondara. When the Covid-19 pandemic called a halt to touring, Rae took advantage of the opportunity to revel in a wide range of musical influences she had absorbed since the making of Putting On Airs, sitting in an un-rushed space while deciding which direction she wanted to take her music next.
Though Rae says the core of her work will always stem from the songwriting she was raised on, the making of Putting On Airs with collaborators Jerry Bernhardt, Dan Knobler, and Dominic Billett inspired her to deepen her music exploration outside the traditional Americana box and listen to records in a broader way. “It opened up a sonic world to me that I had always enjoyed, but that felt mysterious. The process of making my last record allowed me to visualize how recorded sounds come to be, so returning to recordings of beloved artists like Feist, Judee Sill, Wilco, became exciting all over again. I could suddenly imagine what was happening in the room to create what I was hearing on the recording.” This newfound excitement led Rae down many rabbit holes, particularly a deep-dive into English psych-folk artists like Kevin Ayers and Pete Dello And Friends, as well as songwriters like Gene Clark, Scott Walker, and Jesse Winchester.
That expansive discovery of musicality led her to connect with Wilson, known for his work with artists like Father John Misty, Jenny O., and Roger Waters. Their shared love for the cinematic pop of the Walker Brothers, Bobbie Gentry, and the folk stylings of Margo Guryan created a solid foundation to create together, so Rae flew to Wilson's Five Star Studios in February 2021. Wilson called on musicians Jake Blanton (Bedouine, The Killers) and Drew Erickson (Weyesblood, Father John Misty) to contribute bass, keys, and string arrangements, and played drums and lead guitars himself. Erin invited friends Kevin Morby and Meg Duffy of Hand Habits to contribute, and Wilson's longtime friend Ny Oh to sing some of the background vocals. The result is a fresh, authentic, and singular collection of recordings that are clearly rooted in a classic "canyon" sound.
Lighten Up also showcases a new level of personal growth for Rae, and invites listeners to share in the results of her work towards self-acceptance. “My last record was a lot of self-assessment and criticism, and trying to kick old habits and ways of relating to people,” Rae acknowledges. “This one is about blossoming, opening up, and living a little more in the present moment. Accepting what it is to be human.”
In the lead single, “Modern Woman” Rae celebrates womanhood and femininity in all of its forms, countering outdated beliefs over driving drums and rocking guitars and inviting an inclusive perspective through her cheeky lyrics “come see a modern woman.” With “Lighten Up and Try” a song that embodies the album’s title, as well as its ethos, Rae dwells on the process of opening up to love and to life, and the vulnerability that comes with that process. Expounding on the song’s meaning, Rae shares, “This song for me just feels like celebrating the vulnerability of living. Saying yeah, ‘No one really knows what they’re doing. You just have to try.’”
In the measured track, “Mind - Heart” Rae outlines the dangers of codependency, and through the straightforward lyrics, “the mind is fucked but the heart is pure,” she meditates on the unreliability of thoughts. “Both of my parents have practiced meditation throughout my life following different traditions. This song for me is essentially using mindfulness to detach from habitual patterns of thought and behavior, and reconnecting to the heart, the intuition.” In “True Love’s Face” she opens to the potential of love and the choice to not flee from it over retro melodies, affirming through her bell-like vocals, “I will know it when I see it / I will not turn it away.” And in the psychedelic “Candy + Curry” Rae balances awakening and being centered in the present moment, with a soundscape that invites the listener to relax and enjoy the ride.
With Lighten Up, Rae hopes to give listeners the opportunity to borrow what she’s learned, that there can be a lightness when things feel heavy and that even our darkest corners can allow us to shine. “I hope this record encourages people to be a little softer towards themselves.” Rae shares. “If [Lighten Up] gives people listening the space to feel more tender towards themselves and move in the world from that place, that would be the dream for me.”