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The Black Watch is a band that writes kiss-off songs par excellance - as well as melodies about "altered states." "I Don't Feel The Same," the latest single from the band's "The End of When" album is, as its ambiguous chorus suggests, both: the speaker doesn't feel the same vibe or trip or feeling he felt before, and he doesn't feel the same way about the addressee of the song.
In other words, he'd "rather quiz a Siamese cat!" than deal with what "mercurially, from yesterday" his kiss-off'd one has "said in passing or in jest." But mostly, guitarist Steven Schayer's otherworldly Telecaster says all of the above with sonic kiss-off love and mad abandon!
Referred to as “a national treasure” by the L.A. Weekly, the Los Angeles-based veteran indie pop band The Black Watch formed in the late 1980’s and has released “17-and-counting CDs of remarkable consistency” in that time, according to the paper.
After a relatively short three-year break between albums, the band has returned a new release "The End of When," accompanied by a second CD collecting some of the band’s best and brightest tunes from its catalog. The album is the first release for Austin’s Pop Culture Press Records, an offshoot of the well-respected indie zine of the same name.
“L.A. has not produced a band as capable of both My Bloody Valentine miasma and Nick Drake quietness.” — Andy Gill, Gang of Four
When both the venerable Trouser Press Review and the trendy L.A. Weekly refer to your veteran indie pop band as “a national treasure” with “17-and-counting CDs of remarkable consistency,” you might, if you were frontman/songwriter John Andrew Fredrick, slow down, take stock in your achievement, spend a bit more time playing ping-pong or with your set of official Andy Partridge toy soldiers.
Not so Fredrick, whose new LP “The End of When”, his latest as The Black Watch, is set to be released this September 10th via Austin’s Pop Culture Press Records accompanied by a bonus disc of 16 career-spanning sparkly pop songs that celebrate the band’s two decades of existence.
After twenty years of releasing critically well-received albums and touring only very sporadically, word is finally branching out to folks beyond an exclusive circle of writers and editors about The Black Watch. More to the point, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently remarked about “the simple beauty of The Black Watch’s shimmering pop songs,” referring to the band as “A marvelous confection that harks back to mid-period Beatles, The Soft Boys, and a sort of west coast Yo La Tengo.”
Formed in Santa Barbara, California by Fredrick in the late ‘80s, The Black Watch has amassed a press kit the size of a small phonebook, and a formidable reputation as a live act (especially since ex-The Chills member Steven Schayer joined up.)
“Steven and I have been best of friends forever,” Fredrick says, “and it has always been my not-so-secret dream to have him play and sing in The Black Watch. Being in the not-so-easy-to-be-in The Chills nearly killed off his interest in playing music! He had not performed, or put out any music for 16 years or so, but when we started making this new LP, he bloomed! We both found that we harmonized like old friends ought to, and of course we are both in love with such Beatles songs as ‘Two of Us’ and ‘And Your Bird Can Sing;’ songs that are positively made via the harmonies.”
Schayer’s singular singing and at once Velvet-y and Bunnymen-ish guitaring, bring out aspects of The Black Watch that were sort of dormant or unrealized during the days when violinist/guitarist/co-vocalist (and now member of Rod Stewart’s band) J’Anna Jacoby served as Fredrick’s foil. That era was, as you’ll find if you seek out The Black Watch’s lengthy discography, a bit twee. But, there is nothing airy-fairy about The Black Watch circa 2013, though they’re doubtless as melodic, swirly, literary and poetic as they’ve always been.
Described by The Big Takeover as “a continual conflict between Go-Betweens/Felt/Jazz Butcher romanticism and the Velvets, late Beatles, and Ride/My Bloody Valentine’s thicker inscrutability,” the new material should delight old fans and newcomers to The Black Watch alike. “Meg,” the first single from “The End of When” is streaming now. The album is scheduled for release via Pop Culture Press Records on September 10th.
"I Don't Feel The Same"
taken aback by what today mercurially from yesterday you said in passing or in jest and gestured let's forget the rest
why haven't you a memory of not quite half your history? telling tales all tall and that--i'd rather quiz a Siamese cat
and i don't feel the same x 4
'cause i recall your every word--i know it's frightfully absurd; i wish to Vishnu i could erase the stuff and nonsense you embraced
you state you're on to the next thing the forward-thinking future brings
trying to forget the past and make the fine times always last
but i don't feel the same x 4