“World Blanket boomed like a big-riff rock beast, despite acoustic guitar and violin dressing.” – SPIN
“…part Bob Dylan, part New York trashy rock n’ roll… sounds like a more modernized Rolling Stones.” – WXPN, Philadelphia
“Warm, violin-driven Americana keeps the listener consistently on their toes, never knowing what to expect next.” – Foxy Digitalis
Michael Pomranz, the songwriter behind World Blanket, didn’t grow up in a musical household, but his house held music. At the age of 13, Pomranz and a friend discovered treasure in his basement in the form of a vintage Martin acoustic guitar. The instrument was hidden there by Pomranz’s uncle who had been sent off to prison for drug trafficking. “He hid it to keep it from being seized,” Pomranz explains.
His uncle’s misfortune created an opportunity. “At the time, I had never picked up a guitar, but I still play that Martin,” says Pomranz who wrote his first song that day and kept at it, going on to form World Blanket in 2005. At the time, Pomranz wanted the band to be the hardest rocking group ever to be fronted by an acoustic guitar. “Now I often say that I want this band to bridge the gap between Nirvana and Electric Light Orchestra.”
This love of edgy, emotionally driven music with over-the-top traditional production values and classic orchestration is the driving force behind the upcoming World Blanket album "2012" (April 3rd, No Applause Records). Joining Pomranz on "2012" is violinist Katherine Fong, a Julliard trained member of the Metropolitan Orchestra (she has also worked with everyone from John Mayer to Tony Bennett), and bassist Dean Moore (formerly of Jive Records band Dirty Blonde). On drums is Jonathan Flax (also with Freedy Johnston), a co-worker of Pomranz’s at Comedy Central where Pomranz writes for the “Tosh.0” program and earned the credit as the first to post and subsequently create the Rebecca Black “Friday” phenomenon.
The connection notwithstanding, "2012" was not recorded with Ark Music Factory, but with Pete Min, the man behind the boards for the recent hit album by The Airborne Toxic Event. Min had yet to hear the songs for "2012" when the sessions began and the players barely had either. “We met up for two rehearsals and then the four of us got on a plane for L.A.,” reveals Pomranz. Min wasn’t amused. “On our third take, he stopped the tape and asked us if we had ever played together before. It was a real kick in the ass.”
The ass kicking worked. "2012" expands on World Blanket’s established mandate of coaxing a huge sound out of acoustic guitars and violin by leaning on a big rock rhythm section and filling the gaps with some well-placed timpani strikes, a few bars of electric guitar and for three songs, the Calder Quartet which has previously contributed strings to The National, Vampire Weekend, Andrew WK, and many others. “The song ‘Snooze Bar’ was recorded with only the quartet and me on acoustic guitar and vocals,” says Pomranz. “It’s a very Beatles-esque, ‘Yesterday’ arrangement.”
The release of "2012" in 2012 is not just a coincidence. “The record is based around the writings and philosophy of psychedelic drug guru Terence McKenna,” explains Pomranz. “Growing up, I became engrossed in McKenna’s writings, and his perspectives about seeing life in a different light really hit home with me.” Explaining the specific connection to the year "2012", Pomranz elaborates, saying, “One of McKenna’s best known theories is one that predicts a major transformative event occurring on December 21st, "2012" and this record, both lyrically and musically, is constructed as a preparation for that transformative event, encouraging listeners to come to terms with their own existence and prepare their minds for whatever may lie ahead.” Pomranz is connected to the numbers inherent in the album’s release date as well. “April 3rd happens to be the date of Terence McKenna’s death and also my birthday.”
With the pending release of "2012", Pomranz has been able to satisfy a love of making rock and roll that had taken a back seat to his life of making comedy. It was meant to be though – if a teenager’s basement reveals a hidden guitar, it’s probably for a reason. "2012" by World Blanket will be released on the band’s own No Applause Records label on April 3rd, "2012".
- Acoustic Pop