Posts Tagged ‘Generations’

Will Butler has been a member of the band Arcade Fire for over 10 years. A few years ago Will Butler put out one of the best rock records of the year and he returned this year with one that explores what it is to be American. It also contemplates what one can do to help and how to be better from day-to-day. On “I Don’t Know What I Can Do” this seems pretty self-explanatory. “Close My Eyes” has this feeling of despair while trying to figure out how to not only combat that, but the daily struggle of the news constantly coming at you with no end in sight. There are foot-stomping rockers like the 50’s era “Surrender” and the more punk rock vibe of “Bethelhem”. The background singers Sara Dobbs, Julie Shore, and Jenny Shore shape this album with their harmonies and clapping almost as much as Will himself.

“Hide It Away” would have felt right in place on “Everything Now” by that other band he’s in. The beat and production on Will’s voice on “Hard Times” feels like he was listening to Billie Eilish while making this song. It’s an interesting outlier on the album and shows that he’s always up for experimenting. “Promised” could have easily fit onto his first record musically. “Not Gonna Die” a disco-laden tune and “Fine” a quiet story of a song close the record out. Will usually gets overshadowed by his brother, but his two solo efforts have truly been great.

Policy is American music—in the tradition of the Violent Femmes, The Breeders, The Modern Lovers, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, The Magnetic Fields, Ghostface Killah. And John Lennon (I know, but it counts). Music where the holy fool runs afoul of the casual world.

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Released September 25th, 2020

Songs by—
Will Butler: singing, synths, piano, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, drum machines, snare, claps
Miles Francis: drums, drum machines, percussion, synths, acoustic guitar, singing, claps
Sara Dobbs: pre-production, singing, claps
Julie Shore: synths, piano, electric guitar, singing, claps
Jenny Shore: synths, singing, claps

Will Butler has been a member of the band Arcade Fire for over 10 years. This is his first release under his own name. in the five years since Will Butler released his debut album, policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of Arcade Fire, released the Friday Night Live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album everything now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues (police contracts, prison reform, municipal paid sick leave, voting rights), and spent time raising his three children.

He also found the time and inspiration to write and record a new album, “Generations”. “my first record, Policy, was a book of short stories,” Butler says. “Generations” is more of a novel despairing, funny, a little bit epic… a big chunk of this record is asking: what’s my place in American history? what’s my place in America’s present? both in general as a participant, as we all are, in the shit that’s going down but, also extremely particularly: me as Will Butler, rich person, white person, mormon, yankee, parent, musician of some sort, I guess. what do I do? what can I do? the record asks that question over and over, even if it’s not much for answers.” while the songs on Generations contain their fair share of dread and regret, there is ultimately a lightness that shines through Butler’s music. that brightness is at its most intense when he and his solo band Miles Francis, Sara Dobbs, and Julie and Jenny Shore perform on stage. their electricity is palpable throughout Generations, with the bulk of the new songs having been worked out live. wild synth production gnarly bass synths with live drums and anthemic backing vocals as on first single “Surrender” are punctuated by intimate, direct moments.

Butler’s voice cracking on “Fine” as he conjures his ancestors, and “promised,” a meditation on friendship, how lives are built together, and how and why they drift apart. generations was recorded and produced by Butler in the basement of his home in Brooklyn. tracking finished in March 2020, as New York closed down for the pandemic. half the record was mixed in Montreal by longtime Arcade Fire engineer Mark Lawson, the other half by Brooklyn-based producer Shiftee (who is, incidentally, bandmate Julie Shore’s husband and Will’s brother-in-law). generations opens a dialogue with the world. it posits answers and deals with those answers being refuted. ultimately, it navigates the conversation as a way to find the truth… or at least a way forward.

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In the five years since releasing his debut album Policy, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler has toured the world solo and with his band following their international #1 album Everything Now. He’s also earned a master’s degree from Harvard, raised three kids and written – quite frankly – a brilliant sophomore solo album. If Policy was a book of short stories, Generations is a despairing, funny and epic novel.

The Band:
Will Butler: singing, synths, piano, guitar, bass guitar, percussion, drum machines, snare, claps
Miles Francis: drums, drum machines, percussion, synths, acoustic guitar, singing, claps
Sara Dobbs: pre-production, singing, claps
Julie Shore: synths, piano, electric guitar, singing, claps
Jenny Shore: synths, singing, claps
Stuart Bogie: clarinet, tenor sax
Matt Bauder: bass clarinet, tenor sax, alto sax, baritone sax

Releases September 25th, 2020