1) February 1878
2) Grist for the Malady Mill
3) East Enders Wives
4) Cardiff Giant
5) Elephant in the Dock
7) Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume
8) Nine Stories
9) iji Mermaid
10) Bear’s Vision of St. Agnes
mewithoutYou returns with their 5th studio album Ten Stories, set for release May 15, 2012. A deluxe vinyl edition will be available as well. Helmed by producer and friend of the band Daniel Smith (Sufjan Stevens) and mixed by Brad Wood, Ten Stories is an allegorical collection of songs that, at first listen, follows a winding narrative about a circus train crash in 19th century Montana. But long-time fans of this band know that although we are immediately introduced to a talking elephant, fox and tiger, there is always more than meets the eye.
mewithoutYou – frontman Aaron Weiss, guitarist Michael Weiss, bassist Greg Jehanian and drummer Rickie Mazzotta – will be previewing the new songs during a run of select live shows in early March, beginning March 3rd in Baltimore at Metro Gallery. A U.S. Spring tour will be announced in the coming weeks.
Ten years into their life together as a band, mewithoutYou are still searching, and they still compel us to join them in their search. Well-loved for their introspective and eccentric ruminations on life, love, loss, spirituality and temptation, Ten Stories is the result of a lot of living and a lot of death. After experiencing the joy of a newborn baby in the Weiss family in early 2010, it wasn’t too long before several deaths of relatives and friends shook the band to its core. They spent some time apart to live their lives, but it is their deep friendships that always bring them back together again.
Reflecting on their history together, drummer Rickie Mazzotta says, “Think about everything that happens in the course of a decade – death, taxes, scholastics, break-ups, birth, illness, World Series Championships, foggy memories, whack decisions, the loss of innocence, the highest highs and the lowest lows. We’ve been through a lot together. When we came together to make Ten Stories, it was spawned out of being apart for a while, home with friends and lovers, pursuing other interests and naturally gravitating back towards one another in space and sound.”
This natural reunion led to the band beginning work on Ten Stories with a relaxed approach, leisurely enjoying the summer sun and leaving behind any pre-conceived ideas of what kind of songs they wanted to make. The result is an incredibly expansive album, encompassing where the band has been and where they are going. mewithoutYou’s last album, 2009’s It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright!, was a marked departure into the world of folk and written around an acoustic guitar, Ten Stories adds the band’s raucous vocals and hard-hitting instrumentation back into the mix. Still present are their melodic overtones and lush orchestration of more recent years, making for a riveting musical journey at the album’s every turn.
Through the fable-like interactions of fictitious animals, Ten Stories offers up deep ponderings and keen observations about human character flaws and the circle of life. As the band further explores their signature themes of romantic disaster and quasi-mystical speculation, a naive rabbit falls for a footloose fortune teller and a monastic walrus for a hedonistic owl. A pretentious Fox has a prophetic dream, a starving Bear has a vision of a martyred saint and an indecisive Peacock and gnostic Tiger learn the virtues of megalomania from an ego-annihilated Potter Wasp. From the urgent suspense of album opener “February 1878,” to the sweeping drum patterns and gritty vocals of “Grist for the Malady Mill,” to the psychedelic gem “Aubergine” to the special guest artist on “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume,” it’s clear that Ten Stories is one of mewithoutYou’s most dynamic albums to date.
The cover art for Ten Stories, which will be revealed through puzzle pieces on the band’s Facebook page over the course of the next week, was illustrated by artist Vasily Kafanov, who also created the artwork for The Smashing Pumpkins’ Machina album. Additional pieces of art by Kafanov will be included in the album layout and an individual illustration of each song will be featured in the deluxe vinyl booklet.
Now that we've got fun. and ETID out of the way, this just jumped to the top of my most anticipated list. I want to hear a song so I can get some sort of clue what direction they're taking with this one.