blunderbusst | “monarch of the mountain” ep | slow start records | aug. 9TH, 2019
The 15-year career of the noisy, Reno, Nevada-based shoegaze-pop band BLUNDERBUSST has included more time off than on.
The group sticks to an edict of not only letting the songs be what they want, but also when they want. Essentially, BLUNDERBUSST makes music when the time is right, and that time has arrived again as the band returns with a new EP this summer.
BLUNDERBUSST was originally formed in 2005 by songwriter Jen Scaffidi (vocals, guitar) and Carolyn Gates (drums). The duo’s debut album (Will This Knife) didn’t arrive until five years later. A third band member, Carson Cessna (guitars/synths), joined Scaffidi and Gates in 2012, and BLUNDERBUSST released the “Aphasia” EP in 2014 as a trio. A single performance to support “Aphasia” followed, and then another “return to hiatus,” as Scaffidi puts it.
Since that time, Scaffidi and Cessna have continued making music with their improv noise project, Wizard Colors, which in turn has influenced a new BLUNDERBUSST release, which may or may not precede its next vacation. The band’s new EP “Monarch of the Mountain” arrives on Aug. 9th via San Antonio’s Slow Start Records. The six‐song collection will be available digitally and as a 2x7”.
“This phase of the band started as, ‘Hey guys, I wrote a few new songs,’” Scaffidi explains. “I wondered what it would be like to get in the room with the band and play them. And I thought we should probably play them in front of people before we went into the studio.”
Scaffidi continues, “Being in rooms with our friends playing music again felt like such a gift, like a small oasis of community in an increasingly hostile world. We felt so lucky to still be part of Reno’s incredibly active and vibrant music scene after such a long break.”
Suddenly BLUNDERBUSST was a band again.
“With ‘Monarch of the Mountain,’ we wanted to make something beautiful, something that might be more than just ‘Here’s our new EP,’ something we could give to our friends and the community that nurtured and embraced us, the people who made us what we are.”
The EP is the keepsake that the band intended.
“Monarch of the Mountain” sounds like the artists on the playlists that Scaffidi and Cessna made to inspire them during its creation (Aimee Mann, Neko Case, Brandi Carlile) meeting the trio’s stated influences (My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Swervedriver) head on. Picture a singer‐songwriter strumming an acoustic guitar and then breaking it over your head at the end of the set. Scaffidi translates this description of physical pain into cathartic, sometimes unsettlingly candid lyrics.
“Go now, write it down, because I’ve seen the end and it comes too soon,” she sings on “Monarch of the Mountain,” the EP’s title track and first single.
“I had been thinking about how my Mom, who died in 2012, and my Dad, who came out as trans in 2015, had perpetuated a fantasy of what ‘happily married until the end of time’ meant,” Scaffidi says, explaining the deeper, very personal meaning behind the song. “It’s a fantasy I tried to emulate, a fantasy that had, since my Dad came out, been blown to pieces,” she says. “A fantasy that, once dispelled, pulled into sharp relief all my strengths and weakness and a clear way forward as neither King nor Queen, but a non‐gendered Monarch, standing atop all our triumphs, mistakes, hopes, and fears.”
With this confession, it’s suddenly much easier to understand why Scaffidi’s songs take so much time to find their way to her pen. Like the life cycle of the monarch, metamorphosis won’t be rushed.
“Monarch of the Mountain,” the latest EP by BLUNDERBUSST arrives on Aug. 9th from Slow Start Records.
07/11/2019: Reno, NV @ KTHX (In-Studio)
07/13/2019: Reno, NV @ Foxy Olive
07/24/2019: Boise, ID @ The Olympic (Jen Scaffidi solo)
07/25/2019: Medford, OR @ Johnny B's (Jen Scaffidi solo)
07/26/2019: Seattle, WA @ Tim's Tavern (Jen Scaffidi solo)
07/27/2019: Portland, OR @ No Fun (Jen Scaffidi solo)
07/28/2019: Red Bluff, CA @ Downtown Ale House (Jen Scaffidi solo)
08/02/2019: Los Angeles, CA @ Cinema Bar
08/03/2019: Oakland, CA @ Octopus Literary Salon
08/09/2019: Reno, NV @ Park Place
08/16/2019: Sacramento, CA @ Cafe Colonial (Jen Scaffidi solo)
08/17/2019: Virginia City, NV @ Canvas Cafe (Jen Scaffidi solo)
08/24/2019: Carson City, NV @ Shoetree Brewery
09/05/2019: San Francisco, CA @ El Rio
09/14/2019: Salem, OR @ Space Concert Club
09/15/2019: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Hideaway
09/20/2019: Nevada City, CA @ Miners Foundry Cultural Center