GUN OUTFIT: OUT OF RANGE (PoB-036)

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As the world burns, let us turn to mythology for meaning, with Gun Outfit as our guide.

Like a stone eroded by years in the arroyo, Gun Outfit’s enveloping “Western expanse” aesthetic of guitar levitations and honky-tonk hexes has become gradually smoother over time. Their fifth LP ranks as their most brutally beautiful statement yet. Drawing from mythologies both classical and postmodern, Out of Range builds a world in which Brueghel the ElderSt. Augustine, and the ancient goddess Cybele ride with John FordSamuel Beckett, and Wallace Stevens on a Orphic-Gnostic suicide drive towards the hallucinatory vanishing points of the Southwestern desert, debating the denouement of the decaying American dream. It contains their most conceptually sophisticated and lyrically ambitious material, while remaining their most musically subtle, understated, and accessible album to date, completing their gradual metamorphosis from punk aesthetics to a truly cosmic country—wherein “country” is a geography, a structure of feeling, not a genre.

Today, thanks to NPR Music’s All Songs Considered, they’ve premiered “Strange Insistence,” a song about the damages, deceits, and delights of drugs. It quotes the Old Testament (Numbers 21:17: “Spring up/O well”) soon after reciting, ironically, the deadly seductions of narcotics: “Speed makes you a genius/Cocaine will make you rich/LSD shows you divinity/And everything’s alright on opiates.” “I tried to quit/before I quit again,” it begins with resolve, but after all, “lies can make you famous.

“Cactus-chewing, smoke-signaled rock music that perpetually rolls towards sundown… a cowboy poetry swirled in honky-tonk postmodernism. ‘Strange Insistence’ is a song about giving into pleasure, and discovering the joys and pains of consequence, centered around an irregular groove that squiggles like heat waves off baked asphalt.” – NPR Music

Pitchfork also chimed in with a brilliant track review:

“Warped, warm, and hollow, between a burned-out monotone and a jumpy quaver, [Dylan’s] voice bears all of this experience, suggesting a modern Merle Haggard or Terry Allen. In tandem, he and Carrie Keith fashion a web of briars with their guitars, their low-key psychedelic lines perfectly warped into complementary tangles, tapping a vein of cosmic country gold until the sun finally sets. That’s a drug that Sharp never mentions, but is written into every moment of this great little dispatch.” – Grayson Haver Currin, Pitchfork

 

 

 

Contingent on manufacturing schedules, pre-orders will ship approximately a week in advance of the November 10, 2017 worldwide release date. All pre-orders include an immediate 320k MP3 download of lead single “Strange Insistence.” Pre-order customers will be entered into a drawing for a test pressing and PoB t-shirt.

For digital-only preorders, please visit Bandcamp (which also offers uncompressed, high-resolution audio files) or your favorite digital marketplace.

N.B.: To celebrate the release of their new album, Gun Outfits’s Dream All Over (PoB-023) is now on sale for $15 LP/$10 CD/$23 LP+CD/$5 MP3.

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ACCLAIM FOR GUN OUTFIT

“Dreamers wielding slide guitars. A tradition-warping band, with a punk aesthetic deep at the center and double-guitar desert-rock psychedelia at the surface.” ­ – The New York Times

“With its echoing grooves, drifting landscapes, and new textures—bits of bluegrass banjo, homemade electric sitars—it has the blue-sky sensibility of a soul-searching road trip. You want to get lost inside of it, to turn it up on a road trip that lasts for weeks.” – Pitchfork

“Peyote for the ears… Expansive, arid, and dusty.” – Uncut

RIYL Steve Gunn, Terry Allen, Promised Land Sound, Chance, Amps for Christ, Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth, Waylon Jennings, Lee Hazlewood, Blaze Foley, Townes Van Zandt, Kurt Vile.

Catch two upcoming L.A. shows: with Wand and Darto at the Troubadour on Sept. 23, and with Sheer Mag and Tenement at the Echo on Oct. 4.

 

ON ASHBERY, ORPHEUS, AND OUT OF RANGE

John Ashbery, one of our greatest American poets and a massive inspiration to all of us at PoB, has died—in a week during which we also lost titans Walter Becker of Steely Dan and Holger Czukay of Can (what silence!) We saw him read many times, and it was always revelatory. On this occasion and in memoriam, here are some relevant words about Orpheus, the doomed musician of Greek mythology, who plays an important role in the new Gun Outfit album Out of Range as well.

And Orpheus’ ghost fled under the earth, and knew
The places he had known before.
– Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book XI

But it isn’t enough
To just go on singing. Orpheus realized this
And didn’t mind so much about his reward being in heaven
After the Bacchantes had torn him apart, driven
Half out of their minds by his music, what it was doing to them.
Some say it was for his treatment of Eurydice.
But probably the music had more to do with it, and
The way music passes, emblematic
Of life and how you cannot isolate a note of it
And say it is good or bad. You must
Wait till it’s over. 

– John Ashbery, “Syringa” (1977)

Seeds
The kind that sparrows eat
Becoming the willow tree
That Orpheus took beneath
To play ballads for the dead
Till they buried his singing head
Because he worshipped the sun instead
Of the god of epiphany.

– Gun Outfit, “Ontological Intercourse” (2017)