1. Chop Yourself Into Little Pieces and Mail Yourself to New Brunswick, Canada For Immediate Reassembly
2. Your Wedding Ring
4. Splinter Kiss
When Penny Blacks (AKA Jason Ogden) so generously had given me his solo album, I was immediately hooked. Every time I listened to it I liked it more and found nuances I missed with the previous listen. The EP unravels fluidly with pure raw emotion that makes it one of the most unpretentious and honest albums I have heard in quite sometime. Outstanding songwriting both lyrically, melodically and musically with a real depth that is intuitive to it's Physical surroundings. It wraps you up and unravels you as Like a gust of wind that as suddenly as it came leaves you again,surrendering, leaving a lasting and uniquely calm and satisfied impression. There are moments that echo The Cure, Band of Horses, City & Color, and Blacks song "Your Wedding Ring" brings back the ghost of songwriting legend and almost mythical outlaw Hank Williams Sr who seems to be present. It feels like the song Hank forgot to write..My personal favorite song is "Splinter Kiss" that is a slow-burn beauty that will cure any darkened heart. There are a number of ways to get yourself this album and find out more about Penny Blacks.. Here they are -
I had some questions for Penny Blacks and here is how it all went down...
Punk Globe: You released this gem of a solo album. What are your plans now for recording a follow up? What can we expect sonically?
Blacks: " I'm working on the new album with the band right now. It's a been a long, sort of involved process, because there are 7 of us, and it's sometimes difficult to schedule that many people in and out of the studio. Things are really coming together, though. We're really beginning to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm getting super excited about these songs again. We've been playing them live for awhile, but everyone is adding a little something extra and new to the recordings, and it sort of re-invigorates the songs for us. Sonically, you can definitely expect something grander and more lush than the EP, but at the same time, we're being careful to keep things natural sounding and maintain the rawness of the songs."
Punk Globe: What was the driving influence behind the EP? I see it as a love album in a conceptual way. Am I way off? What is your own personal take on it as a complete piece of work? Is there a common thread?
Blacks: "The EP began as a vessel to funnel some of the newer stuff I've been writing since the band started recording the full-length album in the studio. My bed tracks were done long ago, and while the guys and gals are working on their tracks, I've been writing more songs. They've been piling up, and I thought recording a lo-fi sort of affair in my apartment would be a fun project to sort of tide me over until the album is done. The first EP (Regret, Regret) was the same sort of thing - just me and a few guests. I think it is a model that I may continue with - solo / more intimate EPs on my own and full albums with the band. On top of that need to keep busy, I have really been trying to work on my solo show, and I thought releasing an EP of new songs that I could sort of take on the road as part of a new solo set would help me begin that work. "
"I think that all Penny Blacks' albums are / will be love albums in some sense. It's a pretty prominent theme in my lyrics. I didn't really see this EP as having a love concept myself, but 3 of the 5 songs are definitely about relationships. And really, so are the other 2 - they are just more about a relationship with a city and with myself than with another person. The way I sort of saw this album was more like a collection of songs than a thematic piece. I didn't have a common thread in mind, or a singular direction when I chose the songs and planned how it would be laid out. So I tried to make it look and feel more like one of those singer - songwriter albums from the sixties. The ones that weren't so much a concept piece as they were just a collection of the material that the artist wrote since their last album. You know - the label would slap a painting or photo of the dude with his guitar on the cover, sometimes list the songs right on the front. I really like the way those albums looked. I spent some time looking at a lot of record covers from the sixties and seventies - mostly country and western and jazz albums - to try and come up with a look and feel. If there is a common thread to the songs, it might only exist for me, in that I made a conscious effort to make these songs more concise, and more "classic" in structure and arrangement, if you know what I mean. I pictured it as an EP of my "standards", or as close as Penny Blacks could come to having standards. Hence, the title."
Punk Globe: What are your current music fixations? What would be your dream gig?
Blacks: "I've been listening to this band on Merge records called The Love Language lately - I like those guys. Also really stuck on that version of "Flying On The Ground Is Wrong" on that new Neil Young: A Treasure album. And in my car, I've been playing the new Obits album and OFF! The First Four EP's a lot.My dream gig? I would love to play, like, a festival in Spain with Magnolia Electric Co., with the entire band - all my friends - there."