CUT WORMS – ” Nobody Lives Here Anymore “

Posted: July 31, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Max Clarke, aka Cutworms returns with “Castle in the Clouds,” and an accompanying video. Clarke wrote “Castle in the Clouds” in April 2019, after tours supporting his 2017 EP Alien Sunset and 2018’s Hollow Ground. The songs came quick, then, too many to count. Eschewing demos for in-studio spontaneity, he finished “Castle in the Clouds” on a flight to Memphis, TN, and then recorded it the next day at Sam Phillips Studio with Matt Ross-Spang (John Prine, Jason Isbell, Margo Price). The resulting track is somewhere between a lonesome cowboy lullaby for the restless, and a doo-wop sci-fi elegy for the daydreaming teenagers of Mars. Its video, homemade by Clarke, pulls together luminous animations and mid-20th century stock footage.

Cut Worms, moniker of Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and multi-disciplined visual artist Max Clarke, announces his new double album, “Nobody Lives Here Anymore”, out October 9th on Jagjaguwar Recordings. Today, he presents two new singles – “Sold My Soul” with an accompanying video and “God Bless The Day.” Nobody Lives Here Anymore is the haunted reverie of an American landscape in-and-out of Max’s mind. Recorded between May and November 2019 in Memphis, Tennessee, the album is a snow globe of the mid-twentieth-century’s popular music filled with jangling guitars, honkey tonk pianos, and Telstar organs.

“‘Castle in the Clouds’ was the first one we did,” says Clarke. “I remember being in the studio, thinking the control room looked like the bridge on a spaceship. It reminded me of the old Carl Sagan Cosmos, where he’s kind of hovering above, transporting you across the universe. I always really liked the theme song. I think that spirit found its way onto the recording.”

Max immediately started writing material for his sophomore LP after an extensive eighteen-months of touring in support of 2017’s Alien Sunset and 2018’s Hollow Ground. Mining his life-long devotion to the lost American songbook for inspiration, he stockpiled nearly thirty new songs  Unlike earlier works that were meticulously demoed, Max opted for rough drafts to capture something more immediate and honest. Most of the initial takes were tracked live with Noah Bond on drums, while Max sang and played rhythm guitar. Max then built lush arrangements around these intimate performances. A skeleton crew of friends and Memphis all-stars were called in to lay down pedal steel, sax, and strings. When all was said and done, they had recorded 17 new cosmic Americana gems.

“Sold My Soul” and “God Bless The Day” follow previously released singles “Unnatural Disaster,” “Baby Come On,” and “Castle in the Clouds.” “Sold My Soul” takes a look back and ahead at the choices we make, with a thinly veiled punchline to soften the blow. Over jaunty guitar, Max’s voice is expressive as he sings “I sold my soul somewhere so long ago // Oh I didn’t think too much at the time I was young and I didn’t know // oh till I saw it late one night on the antique road show // expert collectors to appraise.” The accompanying video, directed and shot by Caroline Gohlke on Route 66 from Chicago to Oklahoma, captures the aura of stumbling through a deserted time.

Max sees this record as a figurative shot across the bow to the modern attention span. He says Nobody Lives Here Anymore is about “throwaway consumer culture and how the postwar commercial wet dreams never came true, how nothing is made to last.” He considers the golden years of a society on its last leg with poignant curiosity, suggesting not only that nobody lives the American dream, but that nobody lives here, in this moment, anymore. “It’s about homesickness for childhood, for a place that never really existed,” says Max.

A loss of innocence lingers through this 80-minute opus as Max attempts to harbour love and meaning inside a world that sold itself out. While his grand anthems overflow with timeless pop charm, his ability to dig deeper than lollipops and holding hands sets his work apart from the days of 45s and Top of the Pops.

“Nobody Lives Here Anymore” the new album by Cut Worms out now on Jagjaguwar Recordings.

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