Let’s Get Illuminated: Andy Jenkins & the Making of ‘Sweet Bunch’
Andy Jenkins has today shared an insight into his unique creative relationship with longtime friend and collaborator Matthew E. White, in the form of a behind-the-scenes short film. The film puts into focus the pair’s collaborative songwriting history, from when they met at school in Virginia Beach VA, to Andy’s contributions to White’s critically acclaimed back catalogue (including Big Inner, Outer Face, and Fresh Blood) and their most recent venture – Jenkins’ debut album, Sweet Bunch.
Sweet Bunch is due out June 15th on Spacebomb and will be available on CD as well as standard black vinyl and limited edition marbled clear vinyl (limited to 300 copies only). All pre-orders through the Spacebomb store ship with a free enamel pin and zine by Andy Jenkins, both pre-order exclusive items limited to the first 100 orders.
Andy Jenkins on Tour
Jun 20 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
Jun 21 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
Jun 22 – Washington, DC – DC9
Jun 27 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
Jun 28 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe du Nord
Jun 30 – Seattle, WA – Lo-Fi
Jul 1 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
Andy Jenkins – “Sweet Bunch”
Andy Jenkins returns with a brand new video, this time for the title track to his forthcoming debut album, Sweet Bunch. The song features a vocal from album producer and longtime Jenkins collaborator Matthew E. White, and the video (directed by Jenkins & Laura McCann) was premiered today at Stereogum, who call the track “bright and homespun.” WATCH
Hiss Golden Messenger Meets Spacebomb
In early 2018, Hiss Golden Messenger came to Spacebomb to record a track. Cameron Ralston – Spacebomb’s in-house bass player – lead the charge as Producer. The goal was nothing more than to spend time together and make something cool, and that’s exactly what happened. The resulting track, “Passing Clouds,” accompanied by a dub remix of the same song, is Hiss Golden Messenger Meets Spacebomb.
Today, ahead of this weekend’s March For Our Lives, Spacebomb Records releases the two-track single digitally, as well as on 7” vinyl (pre-order available now), and all profits from the sale of the music will be donated to Everytown for Gun Safety.
M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger:
I believe gun laws need to change. So I am now committed to performing whatever actions are within my power to push that stone forward. We’ve been told for so long that a change in gun laws is next to impossible. It is not. We’ve been told that the NRA, and the politicians whom they buy, are too powerful. They are not. The young people in Parkland, Florida, have proven that. I am on their side. I am on the side of peace, hope and love, on the side of grieving parents and spouses and co-workers in Parkland and Newtown, in Aurora and Las Vegas. As Sly Stone says, “My only weapon is my pen.” But it’s a mighty weapon indeed that works to bring light to dark places. Signs and wonders. Just a little bit of thunder now.
This song was recorded with the Spacebomb family—a collection of musicians with deep kinship and connection to Hiss Golden Messenger—in Richmond, Virginia, on February 7th, 2018. They love their families and friends in the same ways that I do mine. I was proud and honored to work with them on this song.
All proceeds from “Passing Clouds” and “Passing Clouds Dub” will benefit Everytown, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. I urge you to perform your own small actions of peace whenever and wherever you can. We can make the world we want to live in.
No spiritual surrender.
—M.C. Taylor, Durham, NC
Library Music I: No Space High Enough
Library Music is an anthology of new recordings from the world of Spacebomb, a growing archive of instrumentals, interstitial music, and spiritual sound effects collected in Richmond, Va. Each release is intended for practical use and distributed as supplementary material for the good times, the bad times, and the no times.
The surface of the muddy James River, twisting, glistening and opaque, acts like a textural twin of magnetic tape, a parallel ribbon of inspiration, burnt brown river spooling on and on. The skill of the producer is to wade in these waters and lay a net for a track, to catch one before it is gone.
Straight from the Spacebomb House Band, No Space High Enough is the first installment of a serialized sonic venture. Unlike other Spacebomb productions, lyrics and melody are not central here, so mood and texture come to the fore on these largely instrumental set pieces. Four constant collaborators–Matthew E. White the visionary pragmatist, Trey Pollard the pragmatic visionary, Cameron Ralston the navigator of spirits & Pinson Chanselle the spirited navigator–focus their output in a flowing mix of styles and scenes, discrete soundtracks saturated with the soul of an imaginary cinema. Operating through the blurred roles of producer, composer, player, arranger, and dub engineer, these four interlocking personalities combine to form a remarkably singular voice.
A sketchbook of sorts, functioning as mixtape, beat tape, library music, demonstration reel, but with a baseline of quality and thoughtfulness throughout, No Space High Enough reflects Spacebomb’s full life in the city of Richmond. This knotty tapestry of musical energy is the fruit of longstanding relationships with members of the symphony, the jazz scene and the gospel community. The project contemporizes that time when studios could call in strings, horns and choirs with scarcely a second thought, intrinsic tools in the musical process, as everyday as every day. The natural ease of these collaborations lends power and depth to the sound of Library Music.
The tape moves on, through gray archways, rain on a lead roof, a monastic quartet pouring over stacks of illuminated scores. Now red dust clouds swirl through a hot stereo sky, and four horsemen down below ride for home out of range. Voices in the tank, snares rattling and bells towering, analog luster and digital depth. It’s 80s Morricone, 90s hip hop beats, 60s peace chants, 70s AM radio, a party in the apartment next door, memories contained inside an empty bottle, whispers of forgotten dub sessions, smoke in the morning from the embers of last night’s fire. An organ solo wanders off into silence, then click and the tape is cut off.
Introducing Andy Jenkins – Debut album ‘Sweet Bunch’ out June 15
From the front porches, alleys, and rivers of Richmond, Virginia comes Andy Jenkins carrying a crisp, newly cut album, Sweet Bunch. Hatched in the tradition of Southern culture—unhurried in his art, yet weirdly ahead of the curve by the time he arrives— Andy is a joyously idiosyncratic songwriting talent, ripened over years of relative obscurity. Sweet Bunch springs into the world fully-formed, sitting at the crossroads of modernism and timelessness, sensitivity and decision, with the expansiveness and musical drawl of Big Star, the bounce of John Prine, and the curly, perfectly-carved melodies of George Harrison. Each song paints a wild landscape, the mood of a sun setting on a damn good day among friends and favored creatures.
Andy is a kind of unheard counterpoint, originating from the same small scene of independent Virginia youth culture that produced artists like Justin Frye (PC Worship) Natalie Prass, and Matthew E. White, all friends from his teenage years. He found the perfect seedbed for his particular sensibility in Spacebomb Records, a label known for offering high musicianship outside of the predictabilities of New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Produced by longtime collaborator White, with the Spacebomb crew and another old friend, Phil Cook, running hard into midnight, Sweet Bunch was essentially recorded in three days of flow-state, with the drums, bass, keys, and guitars all live and nothing to regret. The source of this musical surety lies with Jenkins’ songwriting— natural and effortless as the glide of a swan or sailboat— matched in spirit and strength by the sweet bunch in the studio. Backed by some ringers and a very full chorus, Andy’s warm words come buoyed on cool streams of melody, telling the greater world that Virginia has become, once again, a musical frontier. Read more about Andy Jenkins.
Sweet Bunch will be available on CD as well as standard black vinyl and limited edition marbled clear vinyl (limited to 300 copies only). All pre-orders through the Spacebomb store ship with a free enamel pin and zine by Andy Jenkins, both pre-order exclusive items limited to the first 100 orders.