US Tour Kicks Off September 7
After thirteen years of creating music, Generationals have made the record they have been pursuing from the start. In an age that demands constant content churn from artists, Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner have stubbornly stuck to quietly refining their own signature sound. Their new album, Heatherhead, out June 2ndon Polyvinyl, could be the band’s thesis statement.
In addition to today’s album announcement, the duo has released “Dirt Diamond,” the album’s debut single, along with a video by POND Creative (Soccer Mommy, TOLEDO). Similar to songs like "When They Fight, They Fight" from 2009’s "delectable debut" (T: The New York Times Style Magazine), the lead track hits immediately with thick riffs and memorable momentum. “Dirt Diamond” came from daydreams of being on the road again during the pandemic. Widmer shares: “I felt some catharsis in shouting 'Are you okay?' over the chorus and the feeling has stuck with me every day since.”
Generationals have also announced a national tour kicking off this fall - dates here& below.
Watch / Share: “Dirt Diamond”
Having worked before with legends like Richard Swift, the New Orleans-born duo this time teamed up Nick Krill (The War on Drugs, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Spinto Band), and welcomed in collaborators including Small Black, Seth Kaufman (Floating Action) and Jonny Campos (Lost Bayou Ramblers) among others - even a wrong number voicemail, sampled on “Strangers.”
Heatherhead is the result of a restart. After scrapping sessions that sounded great but weren’t exciting and true to them, instead of reinventing their approach to chase a fanciful trend, they found a better understanding of their identity and sound than ever before. When a severe storm ripped through Widmer’s front yard and left them without power for days during recording, the two just sat together, drinking warm beer and listening to an emergency radio. These 11 songs similarly feel conversational and lived-in - as effortless, endearing and settling as a long hug from an old friend. They are no-fuss, no-filler manifestations of Generationals’ bittersweet beauty, of would-be rock anthems made to feel like cozy sweaters. The record at large digs deeper into the juxtapositions that have long made the band so compelling: soft but pointed, dry but warm, distinct but familiar. It may just be their best yet.
1. Waking Moment
2. Dirt Diamond
4. Death Chasm
5. Eutropius (Give Me Lies)
6. Radar Man
7. Elena (feat. Sarah Jaffe)
8. Faster Than a Fever
9. Hard Times for Heatherhead
2023 US Tour Dates:
09/07 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall Upstairs
09/08 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk
09/09 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
09/11 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
09/12 - Salt Lake City, UT @ State Room
09/13 - Boise, ID @ Olympic
09/15 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
09/16 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
09/19 - San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s 365
09/22 - Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
09/23 - San Diego, CA @ Quartyard
09/24 - Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
10/04 - Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club
10/05 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
10/06 - Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s
10/07 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
10/09 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase Lounge
10/10 - Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
10/12 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
10/13 - New York, NY @ Racket
10/16 - Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
10/18 - Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall
10/19 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
10/20 - New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s
Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer knew they had balked before they even got home. In the Fall of 2021, Joyner and Widmer—for a dozen years, the beguiling garage-pop pair known as Generationals—wrapped the second of two sessions in Georgia for a new EP. They’d opted out of their customary collaborative process of long-distance file-sharing to cut songs straight to tape in Athens, a spiritual epicenter for their brand of twinkling tunes. The results sounded great, but they didn’t think their songs were actually that exciting or up to snuff. Why busy everyone else with the rigamarole of releasing a record when they weren’t convinced by it themselves? Joyner and Widmer scrapped the sessions, relieved. The decision, after all, did not represent some existential crisis for Generationals, some what-are-we-doing-here panic; it was, instead, a validation of trusting their process and respective enthusiasms, of releasing great records rather than churning out substandard “content.” Before the veto was final, Joyner and Widmer were working on songs they already knew passed that test.
Heatherhead is the winning result of that restart. Effortless and endearing, as settling as a long hug from an old friend, Heatherhead is not only the best Generationals album yet but also the one that, after all these years, finds Joyner and Widmer at last epitomizing their sound. These 11 songs are no-fuss, no-filler manifestations of Generationals’ bittersweet beauty, of would-be rock anthems made to feel like cozy sweaters. Maybe it’s the way the thick riff of the indelible “Dirt Diamond” frames a vulnerable admission or how the taut rhythm section of “Hard Times for Heatherhead” buoys a smitten plea, but this record at large feels like Joyner and Widmer digging deeper into the juxtapositions that have long made Generationals so compelling—distinct but familiar, wry but warm, soft but pointed. Heatherhead is like the record Joyner and Widmer have been pursuing from the start.
All was not lost down in Georgia, it seems, as the act of recording in the same room seemed to shake something loose for Joyner and Widmer. With Joyner still in the band’s hometown of New Orleans and Widmer now in Wisconsin, they’d grown comfortable passing ever-evolving tracks back and forth, adding parts or offering suggestions to one another as albums steadily cohered. They’d done compelling stuff that way, too. But after abandoning those in-person sessions, they decided to commingle ideas earlier this time. Joyner escaped the Louisiana heat in June 2022 by heading north, the two rendezvousing in Madison with loads of demos. They augmented one another’s takes in real time, shaping songs that fell together like puzzle pieces. When a severe storm ripped through Widmer’s front yard and left them without power for days, they took it not as a sign to stop but as an invitation to just enjoy still being the buds in Generationals, drinking warm beer and listening to an emergency radio together.
Back in their respective quarters, Joyner and Widmer went to work with multi-instrumentalist, producer, and pal Nick Krill, creating a cross-country file-sharing triangle. They moved quickly, finishing Heatherhead—their sixth LP but first in four years—that way in a mere matter of months. Despite all their fretting a year earlier about making music together in a room, these songs somehow felt more conversational and lived-in, two old pals throwing a few back and tunefully singing of toil and joy. The true circumstances are ironic, given that, for 42 minutes, you feel like you’re right there with them.
Indeed, these are the sorts of songs you want to stay with for a while, to crawl inside of and have a look around for all the crafty details. Notice the way the sizzling little riff seems to bounce between the walls of “Elena,” an enchanting collaboration with Sarah Jaffe that glows like a woodstove in a winter cabin. Marvel at the muted funk of “Eutropius (Give Me Lies),” particularly the way the byzantine drum lines percolate beneath Joyner’s cotton-candy falsetto. And enjoy the marvelous seesaw of opener “Waking Moment,” a song that squeezes a dozen dynamic shifts and at least half as many hooks into four minutes that are as cool as a breeze. You can do this with every song on Heatherhead, limn those bits that give these seemingly billowing tunes real ballast; you could, on the other hand, just let them surround you, seemingly simple pleasures abounding.
“Closer to your death than to your birth,” Joyner sings during “Faster Than a Fever,” his voice traced by spring-loaded drums and sighing keys. “You’re gonna be upset to miss your favorite part.” It would be tempting for a band like Generationals—now well into their second decade—to let such an anxious feeling override their instincts. That might mean putting out something they didn’t love or reinventing their approach to chase a fanciful trend. To the contrary, Joyner and Widmer now have a better understanding of who they want to be and how they want to sound than ever before. You can hear it in every distinct but familiar, wry but warm, soft but pointed second of Heatherhead—a perpetually renewing relationship that gave them the wherewithal to pursue these 11 songs, apart and then together and apart again.
(Bio by Grayson Haver Currin)
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