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Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez
Career trajectories are rarely linear or make logical sense. Life is always unpredictable so all you can do is put in good work and keep at it. Joh Chase is a testament to this. Over the past two decades, the Seattle-raised, Los Angeles-based artist has persistently honed their songwriting and toured, opening for acts like Noah Gunderson and David Bazan. This dedication comes out entirely in their songs, which are so timeless, confident, and inviting they can only come from someone who’s devoted their whole life to their craft. Chase’s new album SOLO feels like a turning point for them: it’s the culmination of a lifetime of writing, losing, loving, and doing it all yourself. Out April 26 via Kill Rock Stars, the LP adventurously toes the line between genres and sensibilities but it’s all filtered through Chase’s charming and fully-formed vision. The Big Takeover is excited to be sharing “Avalanche,” the first single from the album, exclusively today.
Chase’s musical journey has been a winding but steady evolution. While they were raised Evangelical and originally wrote songs that grappled with leaving the church, Chase found revelations in introspective songwriting. “My brain is completely filled with the music I was raised on: Elton John, The Cranberries, Bonnie Raitt, and the Mamas and the Papas,” they say. “I will always think of my music through that template while trying to find a place for myself in the world and pushing the boundaries of that.” With that foundation, Chase’s songs are dynamic and alive. SOLO gleefully bounces from sizzling blues to bedroom-recorded folk, soaring pop, and intimate indie rock. No two tracks sound alike but they’re all connected by Chase’s patient and enduring vision.
Though Chase has always thrived as a solo artist, part of their fuller sound comes from collaborating with bassist Marc Wolloch (Beck, AWOLNATION) and drummer Brendan McCusker (Jenny Lewis, Hellogoodbye). “I just showed them my guitar and voice demos and they just really found their own arrangements,” says Chase. “After playing just a couple of shows with them, I knew they had to make this record with me.” Chase enlisted recording engineer George Wiederkehr and mixing engineer Dan Molad (Lucius) in the studio. “If I could record a song live in a room with people, that’s my favorite way to do it,” says Chase. “While some of the songs on SOLO are just me, the ones that are full-band are recorded live. The communal energy makes the record.”
The lead single “Avalanche” exemplifies this dynamic and adventurous sound. By far the most explosive song on the LP, there’s a subtle twang in Chase’s voice as they sing, “Fever pitch of young love oriented all our stars / Found our bed in the spin of the earth and all its charge / Oh that love, that love, couldn’t see it coming, couldn’t see it coming.” About the track Chase tells The Big Takeover, “Avalanche is a song that I am perpetually proud of – it feels truer every time I play it. It’s about the losses that lead to the engulfing weight of love that is inextricably fused to our grief and struggle.”
SOLO is a testament to Chase’s do-it-yourself ethos throughout their entire career—they chipped away, self-funded tours, and crowdfunded this LP. But by finding their voice, they now no longer feel alone. “This is the most support I’ve ever had in my life,” says Chase. “I do not feel alone at all. There’s so much energy and generosity here around these songs.” Though it’s not their debut, SOLO feels like a reinvention for an artist: a daring reintroduction for a timeless talent. “I spent my life making music and trying to do it about 10 different ways,” says Chase. “Now this one feels like it. This album feels like a leveling-up of my music in general. When I look at it now, I realize this is the first record that’s really me.”
You can pre-save “Avalanche” here. The single will be available to stream everywhere tomorrow, January 22nd, and the full-length album will be out on vinyl and digital on April 26th via Kill Rock Stars.
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