ExBats "Now Where Were We" LP (2021)
Details: The ExBats fourth album, Now Where Were We, released on Goner Records (2021). New stock, sealed.
Description: "Now Where Were We, the ExBats’ fourth album, to be released October 22 on the Memphis-based Goner Records, thematically describes the sensation of coming full circle having changed. “It’s oblique, but this is our pandemic record. It’s about taking a breath and figuring out where you are in your life; coming back to what feels important,” Kenny explains.
The McClains describe this album as “more ambitious” than its predecessors. While earlier records were recorded over a few days or weeks, Inez and Kenny wrote the 12 songs that comprise Now Where Were We over “like 40 Saturdays in a row.”
The Exbats tooled 90 minutes northeast to Tucson to record, per usual, with Matt Rendon at Midtown Island Studios. “We record there because we like that he isn’t a real modern guy,” Kenny says. “The studio is reasonably close to home, and Matt has an encyclopedic knowledge of the type of music that influences our writing, namely mid-60s American pop, the type of stuff probably out of Western or Gold Star Studio—think Sonny and Cher, the Byrds, anything with the Wrecking Crew… There is no Logic or ProTools, no excessive use of technological tools, no pedals. We just rehearse and record to eight-track tape. We aren’t like Luddites, but the music and people we aspire to generally come from a different era in rock music. We would rather enjoy our imperfections than work on a screen to get things ‘perfect.’ We are not trying to be nostalgic or anti-now, we just think there’s room to still make records that end up sounding handmade, or that have a human factor. And we can explore this sort of analog daydream to our heart’s content with Matt as our engineer.”
Months later, the Exbats emerged with an album imbued with harmoniously cautious optimism—the musical equivalent but psychological antithesis to the Brian Wilson-Tony Asher masterpiece “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times.” While Wilson was looking for “a place to fit in,” the Exbats have found sanctuary via the brilliant “Ghost in the Record Store,” which is “for all of us who need the joy of a little bit of plastic making lots of noise.” The joyous self-actualization continues with the anthemic “Best Most Least Worst,” guaranteed to help the curmudgeon in all of us drag ourselves out of bed on the darkest of days, and “Practice on Me,” an inspiring memory of what it was like to crush hard on someone, pre-face mask era.
Like the best records to croon along with, Now Where Were We is captivatingly simple, yet hardly simplistic. The Exbats are singing from their hearts—and they aren’t afraid to bare their souls. “We’re an honest band, doing our best,” Kenny says. “Maybe listeners will feel like their ears are refreshed and ready for more noise from the world, or maybe they’ll feel like they found a new friend that isn’t remote or shrouded by commercial intentions. Maybe some of these songs will get stuck in their heads. We hope they smile and sing along.”
Grade: M (new stock)
TRACK LISTING SIDE A:
A1. Coolsville, USA
A2. Best Most Least Worst
A3. Practice On Me
A4. Best Kiss
A5. One Foot In The Light
A6. Hey New Zealand
TRACK LISTING SIDE B:
B1. All The Lovers Do
B2. Ghost In The Record Store
B3. Drop The Rebound
B4. Like A Son
B5. I Don't Want To Feel Dead
B6. I Don't Trust Myself Around Jesus