Posts Tagged ‘David Bazan’

When singer/songwriter David Bazan started doing living room tours back in 2008, he quickly proved that radical downsizing was a viable way forward for musical performance. Along with the wider proliferation of house shows, it seems like small was well on its way to becoming the new big. What strange timing, then, that the sophomore effort by Lo Tom finds Bazan sounding right at home within arrangements that recapture the grandeur of Big Rock. If there’s anyone suited to maintain a sense of discreet poise while the music around him practically explodes in bombast, it’s Bazan, whose earnest soul-searching is retrofitted with a shiny new scaffolding courtesy of one-time Pedro The Lion/Headphones bandmate TW Walsh, along with guitarist Jason Martin and drummer Trey Many.

Lo Tom is back with LP number two. The got together still four old friends, who’ve known each other for 20+ years, playing in random bands, both together and apart. David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones) Trey Many (Velour 100, Starflyer 59, His Name is Alive) Jason Martin (Starflyer 59, Bon Voyage) TW Walsh (The Soft Drugs, Pedro the Lion)


Released September 11th, 2020

Lo Tom are:

D Bazan – Bass, Vox
T Many – Drums
J Martin – Guitar
TW Walsh – Guitar, Synth, BGV

My collaborative project with David Bazan of Pedro the Lion and Jason Martin & Trey Many of Starflyer 59 who has a new album,

Lo Tom is back at it again… still four old friends, who’ve known each other for 20+ years, playing in random bands, both together and apart. Members include David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones), Trey Many (Velour 100, Starflyer 59, His Name is Alive), Jason Martin (Starflyer 59, Bon Voyage), and TW Walsh (Pedro the Lion, The Soft Drugs). The band has shared its new single “Start Payin’,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming LP2. The song is a raucous guitar-driven number, filled with unrelenting melodies & harmonies.

The album follows up the super group’s 2017 self-titled release (Barsuk). For the new album, the band is releasing it on their own, reaching out to fans to help with production and manufacturing through a Kickstarter campaign that begins today. The album is set to be released digitally on September. 4th, 2020.


Released August 10th, 2020


Pedro the Lion has always been David Bazan, but it took a long time to get back there. In August 2016, during what he now recognizes as his lowest point, Bazan was touring the country alone in an aging minivan and found himself in his hometown of Phoenix, AZ. In need of a break from the road, he spent a night off at his grandparents’ house instead of driving on to San Diego. Before leaving town the next morning, after realizing that even the most familiar places can become unrecognizable, Bazan gave himself the gift of a quick detour past the house he grew up in, and on the way, experienced a breakthrough – one that would lead him both forward and back to another home he had built many years before.

From the beginning, Pedro the Lion didn’t work like the bands Bazan had played drums in, where each player came up with their own parts. Instead, like scripting scenes of dialogue for actors to play with, Bazan recorded and arranged all of the skeletal accompaniments for his obsessively introspective lyrics and spare melodies. Each player would then learn their parts and, together as a band, they brought the skeleton to life. While bandmates played on a few recordings, Bazan often played all or most of the instruments himself.

“I found so much joy working this way,” Bazan remembers. “It came naturally and yielded a feeling and a sound that couldn’t have existed by any other process. At the same time, I was also aware that not everyone wanted to play in a band where the singer wrote all the parts and might perform them on the record. Someone even suggested it might not be a valid approach to having a band in the first place. Being insecure and wanting to find camaraderie, I became conflicted about my natural process.”

By 2002, after recording Control, the high rate of turnover in the band finally caused Bazan to ditch his “natural process” in favor of a collaborative writing process. When, after a couple more years, this move did nothing to stabilize turnover, Bazan was perplexed. In November 2005, Bazan decided to stop doing Pedro the Lion altogether.
Ironically, Bazan didn’t see “going solo” as a chance to revert back to his original process of writing and playing all the parts. For the next decade Pedro the Lion felt off limits, even forgotten, like a childhood home Bazan had moved out of. He pushed forward with releasing solo albums & relentless touring in living rooms and clubs, through every part of the US and beyond, sometimes with a band, but mostly on his own. It took a toll on his family and more acutely on himself. By the summer of 2016, he still hadn’t found the personal clarity or the steady collaboration he’d been seeking and was at the end of his rope.

“I had abandoned my natural way of working in the hopes of creating space for a consistent band to write with…and it hadn’t worked. So I got a rehearsal space, mic’d up drums, bass, and guitar, and really leaned into my original process again. It immediately felt like like home. Before long I realized it also felt like Pedro the Lion.


In June 2018, with Bazan on bass, vocals, and arrangement writing, Erik Walters on guitar and backing vocals, and Sean Lane on drums, Pedro the Lion went into Studio X and Hall of Justice with producer Andy Park to create Phoenix, the first new Pedro album in 15 years.

The songs themselves are the result of mining your past for who you are now. On opening track “Yellow Bike,” Bazan encapsulates a core ache he’s been exploring since 1998’s It’s Hard to Find a Friend with the line:

My kingdom
For someone to ride with

Phoenix also deals with having to be better to yourself in order to be better to others on “Quietest Friend,” and harkens back to Control’s “Priests and Paramedics” with a story about EMTs facing a gruesome scene, and storytelling as coping mechanism, on “Black Canyon.” It bears witness to both what was around and what was inside, with the signature kindness and forgiveness that lightens Pedro the Lion’s darkest notes.

The result is a twisting, darkly hopeful introspection into home and what it means to go back, if you ever can. It is rock and roll wrapped in tissue paper, its hard edges made barely soft. Every melody is careful, a delicate upswing buoyed by guitar lines that hold each tender feeling together like string before ripping them apart to see what’s inside. It is an ode to the place he still loves despite how alien it can appear to him now. It is the story of a life from the beginning, but not a linear one. This life is a circle, and Phoenix goes back to that first point, to show that when we are looking for home we’ll eventually run into it again, whether it’s in the desert, in a rehearsal space, or on a stage.
released January 18th, 2019

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Pedro the Lion  have released “Model Homes,” as the second single off their forthcoming album Phoenix, out January. 18th, 2019, through Polyvinyl Records. ‘

“Model Homes” follows October’s “Yellow Bike,” the first single off Phoenix. It lies in the same propulsive vein as that previous track, finding David Bazan newly re-energized and ready to face the world after giving up his most famous musical mantle for over a decade. “A redwood tree, properly starved for resources, might easily mistake itself for a saguaro cactus and learn to feel at home in the desert,” Bazan said in a statement, as inscrutable as ever.

Though songwriter Dave Bazan fronts the enigmatic rock band Pedro the Lion, his emotionally charged narratives, eye for telling detail, and mournful voice have more in common with J.D. Salinger’s “Nine Stories” or Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood” than with the usual lyrical slant of popular music. Bazan is a gifted storyteller, weaving parables of spiritual conflict, suburban ennui, and personal surrender into magnetic, well-crafted songs.

“Model Homes” is taken from Pedro The Lion’s new album, Phoenix, out January 18, 2019.


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David Bazan’s been reliably releasing music and touring under his own name for nearly a decade; his most recent record, Care, came out last year. But before that, he was Pedro the Lion. He retired the name in November 2005, and after that, it felt off-limits: For Bazan, that designation belonged to a band, even if he was its only constant. Although Bazan was writer, arranger and principle player on all the Pedro the Lion records, he performed with a full band on tour. His self-titled material, however – whether recent synth-based pop experiments or acoustic reflections on big-picture questions – was often played solo.

“Yellow Bike,” the first single from Phoenix.The song begins with Bazan recollecting a childhood Christmas scene in his warm, worn tone. The titular gift under the tree makes his heart race, a kick drum thump animating the excitement. Over insistent bass and ascending guitar, he connects those childhood bike rides to an adulthood on the road. Its lived-in video, rendered in washed colors and grainy textures .

For both fans and Bazan himself, there was a sense of resolution in the reclamation and return to that name, which explains the excitement last year when he announced a handful of Pedro the Lion tour dates, a full U.S. tour. And now, there’s Phoenix, the first new Pedro the Lion record in 15 years. Out January 18th, Bazan recorded the album joined by Erik Walters on backing guitar and vocals and Sean Lane on drums.

Phoenix comes out January. 18th via Polyvinyl Records.

Bazan onstage with a guitar and microphone

The hope of a great cover song, so that it has its own movement and color. David Bazan has proven himself an understated interpreter with a distinct bent towards desperate intensity, from his early covers of Radiohead (“Let Down”) and Nirvana (“Something in the Way”) to more recent songs, like Protomartyr’s “The Devil in His Youth” and The Long Winters’ “The Commander Thinks Aloud.” He likes to take on forebears and contemporaries, artists with whom his own music carries a conversation. This is why David Bazan’s version of “Thread” by Now, Now feels something like a renewal.

The cover appears on volume eight of Kevin Devine’s Devinyl Splits series, which has featured sides from Worriers, Tigers Jaw, Owen and Craig Finn. This particular pairing sees Devine and Bazan — both with at least a couple decades’ experience making music  tackling one song each by the relatively younger Now, Now (Devine covers “Prehistoric”). With the sparkling pop of Saved still fresh in our ears (and perfect for summer playlists), this revisit of material from 2012’s Threads . Bazan was the lead singer and creative force behind the band Pedro the Lion and was the lead singer of Headphones.

Find ‘Devinyl Splits No. 8’ at Bad Timing Records webstore: