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Album Premiere: "Purple Pie Plow" by SLW cc Watt

20 July 2023

SLW cc Watt, a collaboration between prolific singer/songwriter/illustrator Samuel Locke Ward and SoCal punk legend bassist/singer Mike Watt, is releasing their third record on revered indie label Kill Rock Stars tomorrow, July 21st. The 24-track Purple Pie Plow includes guest contributions from saxophonist Bob Bucko Jr, as well as drummer Dean Clean, and guitarist Joe Jack Talcum – both from sardonic punk band The Dead Milkmen.

Locke Ward, an ambitious Iowa native, has self-released 60 albums since the early millennium with vivid titles like Sacrilege, Treason, Treachery & Thyme that encompass rock, folk, country and world music, all with inventive DIY flair. Earlier this year, Locke Ward coupled with Kill Rock Stars for an acclaimed Jad Fair (Half Japanese) collaboration, “Happy Hearts.”

Mike Watt co-founded the seminal San Pedro crew Minutemen in 1980. After bandmate D. Boon’s tragic 1985 death, Watt formed fIREHOSE and later Secondmen and Missingmen, released 3 punk operas and collaborated with the Stooges, Sonic Youth, Porno for Pyros, Juliana Hatfield, J. Mascis, Tav Falco, Flipper, Nels Cline, Mike Baggetta, Jim Keltner and Kelly Clarkson.

Packing in 24 tracks in 40 minutes, the new SLW cc Watt album has 11 brief poetic ‘spiels’ (voiced by Watt) alternating between 12 charming short songs (sung by Locke Ward, backed by Watt, Bucko, Talcum andClean). The collaboration happened via the Internet, with Locke Ward sending lyrics to Watt and demo song tracks to everyone to layer on their own parts.

The new album, inspired by T. Rex’s unique mix of glam and psychedelia, is full of stylized takes on heavy subject matter. We’re led on a journey through mob rule (haunting ‘50’s-style ballad “A Face in the Crowd,” the ultra-catchy “Help Me,” the Motown swing of “Pray”), frightening fascism (New Orleans-flavored “Boring Out,” doo-wop styling “Boots March,” cow-punk “Lost To Time”) and ecological horrors (free jazz freakout “Flowers Scream,” power ballad “Toxic Sunrise”). Not to fear though as rising above the doom comes into play (acoustic/psych ballad “Children of the Stars,” lonesome folk “Dragon Steed,” noir jazz “Weeds of Your Dreams”). The incredible and psychedelic artwork for the album was created by Locke Ward.

With Purple Pie Plow, SLW cc Watt has delivered a collection of tracks that is fresh and innovative in its approach and format while also somehow feeling warm and familiar – a testimony to Locke Ward’s wry, catchy songwriting and the depth and confidence of Watt’s bass work.

Speaking to The Big Takeover, Samuel Locke Ward had this to say about the new record:

“I am impossibly stoked and grateful that the 3rd SLW cc Watt album is coming out and that people are finally going to hear it!

Purple Pie Plow was a labor of love by everyone involved. Recorded slowly through a long distance home-taper assembly line. I’m incredibly proud of what we all did on this record and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Thanks so much to Watt for doing this band with me! Thanks so much to Dean, Joe and Bucko for making music with us! Thanks so much to Jon Hansen for helping it all make sense in the mix! And thanks to KRS for putting it out so people can hear it! And thanks to you for checking it out!“

And a message from Mike Watt himself:

“Our third swing for the fence gets a close-up from the host w/the most post, Jack Rabid and his ‘Big Takeover’ – Watt has fist way in the air for that!”