Dave Hause & The Mermaid, The Last Gang, Daydream
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Dave Hause & The Mermaid
Sometimes you have to move forward in order to see where you started out—and the hardscrabble wisdom that one gains from that type of journey forms the backbone of Dave Hause’s third full-length, Bury Me In Philly. “Punk rock guilt is a real thing,” the lifelong Philadelphian says from his new home in California. “I like to make rock n’ roll music because that’s what I love and I don’t care if Zeppelin or the Stones aren’t cool to the punks… it’s cool to me and that’s what matters.” In that spirit, Bury Me In Philly is a love letter both to his hometown as well as the larger-than-life rock acts he grew up worshiping as a teenager.
For the follow-up to 2013’s Devour, a newly sober Hause holed up in his new home and wrote nearly forty songs, eleven of which would end up as Bury Me In Philly. “The first song I wrote for this album was the title track and I didn’t realize it at the time but that really set the tone for the album,” he explains. “One thing I was focused on was trying to make the songs more concise and uplifting than the last record. My last album was a divorce record and during the touring of it I fell in love with my fiancé, moved to California and things got a lot better.” Hause’s newfound perspective allowed him to dig even deeper as a songwriter whether he’s getting intimately introspective on the tender ballad “Wild Love” or channeling that into shot of sonic adrenaline on monster anthems such as “Shaky Jesus.”
Although Bury Me In Philly is a Dave Hause album, it was also greatly inspired by the other people involved in the production of the album, most notably Eric Bazilian of Philadelphia rock legends The Hooters. “The Hooters were the first concert I ever saw when I was eight years old and it definitely made a huge impression on me,” Hause explains. In fact, during the pre-production process Hause was constantly sending songs to Bazilian who actually performed The Hooters classic “And We Danced” onstage with the Hause the last time he was in town. “Things weren’t working out with my original producer and Eric expressed that he would want to produce the album and suddenly he went from my hero to a causal friend to a co-collaborator.” Recorded at Bazilian’s home studio with him and Grammy Award winning producer William Wittman, the album is the ultimate homage to Hause’s past and is a timeless take on rock music’s enduring spirit.
Additionally, these songs are united by Hause’s intent dedication to his craft, which punk fans are already familiar with from his role as front man in The Loved Ones and guitarist/vocalist in The Falcon. From the fuzzed-out boogie of “Dirty Fucker” to the folksy sing-along vibe of “Helluva Home” and the classic rock-inspired groove of “The Mermaid,” Bury Me In Philly may not be an easy album to categorize but it’s a joy to get lost inside. Hause also kept things in the family this time around by co-writing the album with his 23-year-old brother Tim, who helped bring a fresh perspective to the recordings. “I’ve never had a musical soulmate but during this process I realized it’s my brother,” Hause explains. “Who I think of as this cute cuddly infant is now this grown man who is really talented and focused and he’s not drinking and partying his way through life the way that I was at that age. It’s really cool.”
While virtually every song on Bury Me In Philly could be played on the radio, the album is much more than a collection of singles. “I still write in the paradigm of albums you know?” Hause says. “I think there should be melodic through lines and each track on the album should compliment the other ones. You want to plan an album like a live set: You want a batch of songs that kick off the record, then you want some left turns. You want to take people on a journey.” The road to get to this point may have had its share of obstacles but looking back Hause wouldn’t trade his experiences for anything. “The ringing of that broken bell, it always seems to cast its spell. I was young and I flinched before, but I ain’t flinching anymore,” Hause sings over a soaring slide guitar on “The Flinch” ….and you can tell that he means it. Coming full circle rarely sounds this inspired.
The Last Gang
This December, Orange County’s The Last Gang will make their Fat Wreck Chords debut with the two-song 7-inch Sing for your Supper. And while The Last Gang may seem like a new band, their history is rife with chance encounters that led to big breaks. The band originally formed in 2007, with vocalist-guitarist Brenna Red leading the band and playing the king of ‘77 punk that allowed them to tour with the Anti-Nowhere League and Dwayne Peters Gunfight. But in 2012, shortly after drummer Robby Wantland joined, The Last Gang put their guns down and called it a day. Thankfully, that didn’t last long.