A few days ago, noted indie musician David Bazan, tweeted out this gem:
Here we go pic.twitter.com/hAC87EuB2D
— David Bazan (@davidbazan) October 4, 2017
For me, a big fan of most of Bazan’s catalog–but one who is especially enthusiastic about his Pedro the Lion material that mostly dates between 1997 and 2004, before Bazan dissolved the moniker to focus on solo material–this is really awesome news. PtL’s lo-fi indie rock is some of the earliest music I can remember that mattered to me within the scene, as I listened to and dissected the jarring content of 2002’s Control so often that I had to mind to write a screenplay based on the album’s weaving, deceit-driven plot. And again, while I’ve enjoyed a lot of his solo work (check out his volume of Pedro and solo tunes featuring the Passenger String Quartet for examples of the quality of his songwriting no matter the genre), the Pedro records were always the ones I found myself coming back to more often than not.
Part of the draw, I think, is the way you can trace Bazan’s spiritual journey simply by listening to the discography from beginning to end, starting with 1997’s Whole EP to 2004’s Achilles Heel, with Control marking the most stark contrast in this area. It is a fascinating move, one that Bazan still seems to wrestle with to this day, and in the late 90’s/early 2000’s and the early days of the internet, one that was only available via his albums. How does a man go from featuring a traditional version of “Be Thou My Vision” on 1999’s The Only Reason I Feel Secure to singing about extramarital affairs and matricide in just three years? I certainly don’t have the answer to this question, but being able to dig into the Pedro catalog again–which this announcement, which promises a full US tour to follow, will certainly push me to do–should be a thrill no matter what.
The cool thing behind the entire thing is that this is was just something Bazan seemingly up and decided to do. Having released a record and toured with a side project band with Starflyer 59’s Jason Martin & Trey Many, along with former PtL member TW Walsh called Lo Tom, Bazan noted that he was just ready to be in a band again full-time. He noted that touring as a solo artist wasn’t as fun, and that the collaboration that came with band songwriting was something he was looking forward to again (read: new Pedro eventually!). This is a sentiment I fully understand. I’ve been in a few bands, and they are hard as operations, mostly because of the time they take up and working with other people is difficult (and this was only on a local level, I can’t imagine full time touring); but at the same time, it’s rewarding to take something that you made, seeing what other talented people can add to it and making it an “our” thing instead of just mine.
This announcement is good news for music fans. Based on the Lo Tom album–which is really good, by the way–it seems safe to say that Pedro’s signature lo-fi, drums&bass driven sound isn’t likely to go anywhere moving forward. Bazan is probably going to continue with what was working for the band, avoiding frills and excessive layering in favor of thoughtful, honest songwriting. The world needs more of that.