by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Flagland is a hard band to pin down. Just when you think you have the Brooklyn trio figured out, they take a hard left turn in a new direction, proving themselves capable of anything and everything. It's part of the allure, part of what makes them one of Brooklyn's most exciting bands. Throughout the span of their three full lengths they bounce between off-kilter pop, garage rock, post-punk, noise rock, twitchy indie punk, fuzz, grunge, power-pop, the occasional unnerving psych moment, and glimpses of soulful 50's rock & roll... and that's really only scratching the surface. While the band remain hard at work on their "garage prog" epic (due out in 2016), Flagland bassist Dan Francia keeps himself busy.
Dan Francia's bio reads "Started playing guitar in kindergartner. Started playing drums in fourth grade. Started playing bass in fifth grade. Started smoking woos at sixteen." A fine representation into his thought process, but don't let that fool you.
Last year Francia released his debut solo effort, Alone and Together, an eclectic EP of original songs, instrumentals, a cover of The Smiths' "Still Ill" and a field recording that unfolded like an insight into the wandering mind of Francia. The stunning opener "For All You Love," swirls from clattering drums to somber lo-fi pop brilliance before devolving into a wall of blistering feedback and noise. The EP's title track is a dazzling piece of indie rock with a slow burning melody that would make J Mascis proud as the riffs bend around tape manipulated fuzz and Francia's gentle and comforting vocals. Meanwhile... Shakes, another project of Francia's, simultaneously released The Same 7", a full band recording steeped in alt rock that leans a bit closer to the jangly folk end of the spectrum... think recent Meat Puppets or an amped up Grateful Dead. Between time spent recording his own music, he's engineered and served as a technician for bands ranging from The Feelies and Speed The Plough to Stove and Washer. It's worth repeating... Dan Francia keeps busy.
Over a year has passed since Francia's first set of releases (both on East Coast Basements and Bedrooms, a label he co-founded with members of Big Ups and Washer), but the prolific New Jersey based songwriter is back with two new records yet again (once again doubled up on a singular release date), the debut 7" of The Ordeals (feat. members of Flagland, The Feelies, and Shakes) and another solo EP of instrumental bass, an homage to many of Francia's influences.
While Impose Magazine recently premiered The Ordeals' single, we're excited to share Solo Bass, Francia's sophomore EP today on Post-Trash. Due out this Friday, November 27th via ECB&B, Solo Bass is a quick yet dynamic listen... a true display of Francia's infatuation with bass and the instrument's wide range of capabilities from dense punk riffs to whirlwind jazz arpeggios ("Prophecies") and airy melancholic ballads ("One Second"). The center piece of the EP, "Bassists Medley" is Francia's own way of paying respects to the greats, offering his own interpretation on the songs of Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, and Victor Wooten. Comprised exclusively of bass, the EP is a surprisingly diverse and often meditative listen. Francia has constructed a succinct but enjoyable low end odyssey, pushing the boundaries and scope of the project with natural reverb experimentation ("Forever"), reflective homage, a brief nod to Mike Watt ("There Ain't Shit on TV Tonight") and thick paint-peeling fuzz that bookends the otherwise tranquil beauty.
Dan Francia is set to celebrate the release with two rare performances featuring both The Ordeals as well as a live rendition of his solo work. Taking place in Brooklyn and Montclair, New Jersey, the shows will feature support from Very Fresh, Amar Lal (of Big Ups), Specific Thing and more.
Saturday, November 28th
Shea Stadium (Brooklyn, NY)
Bob Carol Ted
Dan Francia (Solo Bass)
Saturday, December 5th
The Meatlocker (Montclair, NJ)
Dan Francia (Solo Bass)
Eager to share his thoughts about Solo Bass, Francia sent us the following message as well as the below slideshow. Check out Solo Bass in full above and be sure to read Francia's colorful thoughts on his latest effort:
"Here's some thoughts about my bass EP I'd like to share. Thanks for reading.
I wanted to cover the song "Skinny Cat" from Mike Watt's latest release Canto Secondo, with the band Il Sogno Del Marinaio. I saw them twice, on tour for their new record, and it was incredible. I wanted to honor Watt by covering his latest release, because he's still making classics. That Il Sogno Del Marinaio album is also hanging in "my studio," signed by Watt. But then I read somewhere where Watt said Double Nickles On The Dime was the best record he ever played bass on. So I picked a nice bass line from that, to honor him in that way instead.
Honoring classics, butchering them, it's hard to tell the difference sometimes. I purposely chose to cover Jaco Pastorius' "Continuum" because it's one of the most famous "bass tunes" of all time. Who the fuck would play that on a fretted electric?! Me. Even more appalling, is that I chose Stanley Clarke's masterpiece "Spanish Phrases for Strings and Bass" and played THAT on an ELECTRIC FRETTEDDDDD bass! It's an upright bass composition. Period. The album it is featured on is a milestone for bass!! Who would do that!!! The same principle applies to covering Wooten, Pastorius, and Clarke in the fist place; it's a bold statement to fuck with those guys. Obviously I can handle it. I just need some weed. Seriously, I love those cats. In Victor Wooten's epic solo bass album, "A Show Of Hands", the liner notes read, "...I purposely left many mistakes untouched just because I wanted the experience to be raw and real." I adopted that view for my solo bass release as well. I recorded it in one day. It's only nine minutes long, so that's not actually that interesting. I definitely could have technically played things better. But I can actually enjoy listening to this EP, and I never enjoy listening to my work once it's done."