“It’s a miracle I’m not a drug addict/ But you know me, I’m still hard at it.” So sings O.G. indie-rock producer and singer-songwriter John Vanderslice on “I’ll Wait For You,” the lead single from his upcoming album. It’s called The Cedars, it’s out in April, and it’s time for you to get psyched.
For the uninitiated, Vanderslice has been one of the most quietly awesome forces in indie rock for more than two decades now. Beyond his own artful and erudite solo discography — 2004’s Cellar Door is my recommended starting point — he’s contributed production to such classics as Spoon’s Gimme Fiction and the Mountain Goats’ The Sunset Tree. His Tiny Telephone recording studio has also played host to the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab For Cutie, Bob Mould, Girlpool, Cherry Glazerr, Into It. Over It., Okkervil River, the Thermals, Magnetic Fields, tUnE-yArDs, and more. And he puts on a fun show — says a guy who watched him sing his heart out at a bar with a giant tree growing through it on the night of Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012. In short: mad respect.
As Vanderslice explains via email, The Cedars was recorded in an especially idyllic section of Northern California:
I own a small piece of land in very rural West Sonoma and from the tippy top of this land you can see a strange, Mars-like serpentine canyon called The Cedars. Roughly 11×11 square miles in size, it’s a land-locked geological anomaly that has over a dozen endemic trees and plants. It’s only 6 miles away but it takes up a mythic space in my mind, like the perfect sound, the perfect lyric. A lot of this record was written on this land, under the spell of this place.
Our first preview from the project, the aforementioned “I’ll Wait For You,” finds Vanderslice’s unmistakable vocals darting across a shapeshifting landscape marked by spindly guitars and reverberating keyboards, built with help from synth and drum work by Tortoise and Stereolab’s John McEntire. Vanderslice seems to be getting some serious heaviness off his chest: “I love you, it’s true/ But there’s a part of me I stashed away from you/ That last clean hit, that good shit.”
Here’s some more on the song from Vanderslice:
In my new song, "I'll Wait For You," a couple is seperated by court ordered drug lockup. Our narrator tells his SO she can make it, she is strong and he will be there for her. But, if she gets clean, he will choose drugs over her. Maybe he's not a great guy but he is HONEST.
— John Vanderslice (@johnvanderslice) January 22, 2019
Listen below and check out Vanderslice’s tour dates with Pedro The Lion.
01 “Utah And The Sky Over Utah”
02 “Will Call”
03 “I’ll Wait For You”
04 “151 Rum”
05 “Spectral Dawn”
06 “Interlude 1″
07 “Oral History Of Silk Road 1″
08 “Interlude 2″
09 “Henry Ford Gymnasium”
10 “I Got Shit To Lose”
12 “Enter The Void”
05/01 Kansas City, MO @ RecordBar
05/02 St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
05/06 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Backroom
05/07 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
05/08 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
05/10 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall Of Williamsburg
05/11 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
05/13 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
05/14 Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch
05/15 Columbus, OH @ Skully’s
05/17 Indianapolis, IN @ Hi-Fi
05/18 Bloomington, IN @ Castle Theater
05/21 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe