For Immediate Release: October 31, 2018
Ian Wayne is a singer/songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, and he is ready to announce himself in earnest. His forthcoming new album, called A Place Where Nothing Matters, is a beautiful, strange, and ambitious record that puts Wayne’s stark, intimate, and prose-poetic songwriting out in front of a well-oiled rock band.
His latest single, "Guessing," premieres today at Various Small Flames. It's a song about songwriting, and it "flickers to life... lending a sentimental air of bittersweet melancholy" before being "propelled by marching drums and a cacophonous energy," leaving Wayne to "descend the other side of the peak" (Various Small Flames).
From Ian: "It's about trying hard to find your voice, in particular by thinking about why you love the music you love. It's also about friendship and the camaraderie of loving and sharing music with friends. The idea is that we can scrutinize records to figure out how to write a good song and dedicate ourselves to music-making in any number of ways, but ultimately we're just guessing when it comes to songwriting. To me that's a humbling, peaceful thought -- that you never really know if the songs are going to work."
"Guessing" follows "Dog Weed" and "Revelation." The former is a sincere declaration that runs just past the one minute mark, not unlike the short-lived but emotional fling it details, and in the latter, a taut arrangement funnels Ian's speech-like monologue into an instantly appealing rock song-form.
MORE ABOUT 'A PLACE WHERE NOTHING MATTERS':
Wayne's own singular, playful, and reflective style of songwriting evolved through futzing around with folk and jazz styles growing up in Oregon, playing in a variety of bands at college in upstate New York, and, mainly, through his several years in Brooklyn. While continuing to record and perform solo (see last year’s At Home EP), Wayne--a lover of food, drink, and rock formations--moved out of a smoother, electronics-infused musical wheelhouse (2016’s I Can’t Sleep LP) and formed his own well-oiled rock band. The ensemble is on full display for the first time on his new LP A Place Where Nothing Matters, a beautiful, strange, and ambitious album which Wayne is treating as his effective debut.
Recorded and mixed over the course of a year and a half with the help of his faithful keyboard player Keith Nelson on mixing and engineering duties, the 12-track album offers a comprehensive tour of Ian’s abilities as a lyricist, songwriter, and arranger. The songs are stark, intimate, and prose-poetic, with taut arrangements that funnel Wayne’s speech-like monologues into instantly appealing rock song-forms, building gentle maelstroms around his terse, often haunting vocal melodies. In his songwriting, he demonstrates his acute instinct of when to pull in and out of rhyme and conventional catharsis--when to draw a realistic portrait and when to keep things cryptic, when to trust his own impressions of his emotions, and when to send them up.
Some of the musical reference points here will be sensible: There’s plenty of the precision and humor of modern forerunners like Luke Temple, Andy Shauf, and Cate Le Bon, and the adventurous spirit of Joni Mitchell, Talk Talk (see the simmering “Coming Down From Nothing”), and Wilco, back when Tweedy’s headaches were still killing him. But the gentle grin masking the wistfulness, the prankish one-liners and strange enjambments, and the tasteful, plaintive melodic sensibility are all Wayne’s own.
The album’s narrators stare down the precipice of cynicality while always looking for the best in people with whom they cross paths. They gain wisdom when they trip over it, while constantly attempting to reshuffle their papers and get their life in order. A Place Where Nothing Mattersplays out the drama of its creation: a story about someone trying to pin down a voice that no one else can speak in or talk over, or get a moment to themselves. It is a Brooklyn indie rock record that foregrounds a mature, moving, and singular storytelling voice, and it would be a shame to give it less than the time it deserves.
Caitlin Pasko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Nov. 2 • Boston, MA • Midway Artist Studio
Nov. 16 • Red Hook • Fort Briscoe
Dec. 8 • Brooklyn • Union Pool