Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Album: "Foreign Skies"

So in August 2016, after a gig in Toronto, someone shouted: "Make a new damn album already!".

Interesting idea.  So, on November 6, 2016, we made this Facebook post:

The response was absolutely overwhelming:

Buoyed by Angelo's enthusiasm, we decided to do it.  Quickly, however, we realized that we couldn't just make another album like the last one (Polka's Not Dead, 2010).  We'd kind of done and said everything we wanted to do and say with that one. What would be next?

Well, here's something that has never, to our knowledge, been attempted: a folk-punk concept album.  The genre has so many classics... the Pogues'  Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, Flogging Molly's Drunken Lullabies, Gogol Bordello's Gypsy Punks.  But none of these are concept albums.  So why not give it a go?

The result, dear old friends, is Foreign Skies, an album that commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the First World War.  It's a challenging album.  Some people are going to hate how it opens.  Some people are going to hate some stuff in the middle.  Some people are going to wonder why we're not singing about gin and poutine.

Those people can all fuck off, 'cause Foreign Skies is awesome.


It's organized into three chapters, each of which tells its own story.  Like the war, it opens with confidence and bravado, and it slowly descends into chaos and suffering.  Every song represents a different perspective: soldier, civilian, suffragette, child, politician.  And each is meant to commemorate and honor those perspectives, because the people who lived through that period are some of the most inspiring, brave, terrifying and unforgettable figures in all of history.

In gathering these stories and perspectives, we didn't screw around.  We actually read stuff.

The lyrics to many of the songs are inspired directly by things that people wrote and said; by poetry, diary entries, and by phrases and names that were bring thrown around at the time.

One new thing: for the first time, all of the songs are original.  No covers.  Even the sea shanty, "The Bay of Suvla", is ours.  That's a scary thing for us, 'cause the Surfin' Turnips write much better songs than we do, and not covering them just feels wrong.  And writing a sea shanty is scary, because there are tons of classic shanties that you could never improve upon.  But again, we had to give it a go.

Also, we had local balkan choir Zlatna Mountain sing on one of the tracks, and had our old friends Enrico and Andrea from Talco play horns, too.  The result is "Gavrilo", a crazy balkan-punk thing that is totally new for us but a shitload of fun.

Oh!  And another new thing: we recorded seventeen songs for this one and chose twelve for the final product. We've never had the time to do that. Each previous album has been a mad dash to try and write more songs to fill the album up.  The result has been that somewhat iffy tracks like "Paulina", "Hottress"--and of course the hilariously titled "Leonard Cohen"--have made it on the albums.  Not this one... every song is one we're 100% proud of.

Want a taste?  Have a listen to this track on Youtube!

So yeah, love it or hate it, we asked if you wanted one, and are giving you one pretty much exactly one year later.  So, like, pre-order it on CD and vinyl and, uh... snapchat or whatever other formats you goddamned hipsters are using these days, and we'll have some money to make the next one.  Shalom.

- The Dreadnoughts

Release tour dates: