Princeton native ‘lets go’ and ‘gets loose’ as he releases fifth studio album
The Princeton native’s new album started with a “blank slate” and reclaims some of the “lost along the way” freedom of his childhood.
Jonah Tolchin, guitarist, singer and songwriter, released his fifth studio album, Lava Lamp, on Yep Roc Records on July 15.
The album includes seven original compositions and two covers: “Car You Drive” by Josh Flowers and “Grew Up Fast” by Tom Petty.
Lava Lamp is what Tolchin describes as “raw, emotional reckoning with alienation and escapism in a modern world defined by 24/7 stimulation.” More sonically diverse than its previous releases, the soul of the album is built around the energy of loose live studio performances infused with Tolchin’s folk-blues styles and fueled by grunge guitars and a rhythm section. robust.
Co-produced with producer and multi-instrumentalist Nic Coolidge, the album was recorded with a three-piece ensemble that included Coolidge on bass and drummer Kevin Clifford, Tolchin’s longtime friend and collaborator.
“I wanted to let go and let go with this album,” Tolchin said. “I wanted to explore new terrain without any kind of rules or restrictions. I was a pretty rebellious kid, and I mostly listened to alternative rock, hip hop and punk growing up. Somewhere along the way, however, I feel like I’ve lost that part of myself. These songs are my way of getting it back.
While Tolchin’s previous works had often been “heavy and deeply introspective”, for his fifth studio album, Tolchin wrote more “shy and irreverent songs, drawn from free-wheeling, uninhibited and flowing songwriting sessions. consciousness”, an evolution inspired by The Pixies.
“I decided that I was going to let myself write without worrying about what I was ‘supposed’ to look like or what anyone else would think,” Tolchin said. “I wanted to see what would happen if I started with a completely blank page.”
From “Black Hole”, the opening song he wrote in total darkness and explores his fascination with cosmic outlaw blues, to the punchy “Aliens”, inspired by Julian Casablancas with its angular guitars and his lo-fi voice, Tolchin wraps his deeply personal sound of revelations in the metaphors throughout the record, evoking characters and plots that contain multitudes below the surface.
“I felt stuck in my career until I started working on this record,” Tolchin said. Beginning his career with American music, Tolchin felt the need to branch out and explore other genres he enjoyed.
“This record was kind of a wake-up call for me: I developed a level of confidence and maturity from this album to not worry about its reception, because my music comes from an authentic place in my heart. .”
A defining aspect of her album is her reflection on her childhood which is depicted in the song “Lava Lamp”.
“I’ve had this lava lamp since I was a kid, and I always remember my childhood when I see it,” Tolchin said. “It was this feeling of longing, oscillating between feeling at peace and feeling depressed and anxious, that led me to write the song.”
As a teenager, Tolchin struggled with depression for years, and making music with his guitar was a way to let his emotions flow.
Born and raised in central New Jersey, Tolchin began his career as a do-it-yourself (do-it-yourself) artist, hitting the road as a teenager and self-releasing his own music until he signed with Yep. Roc for his critically acclaimed debut label in 2014, Trèfle Lane.
His debut album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with a host of special guests including Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and John McCauley of Deer Tick. The album prompted Uncut, a London-based music magazine, to say that Tolchin “demonstrates the shrewdness and maturity of someone like Jason Isbell” and NPR to proclaim him “an up-and-coming new artist who shrewdly bridges the gap between old-school tradition and the contemporary”. appropriation.”
Tolchin followed in 2016 with the equally well-received Thousand Mile Night, which racked up over 10 million streams on Spotify with its title track alone, and 2019’s Fires for the Cold, a bittersweet meditation on loss and redemption. which featured appearances from Jackson Browne, Rickie Lee Jones and Sara Watkins. Along the way, Tolchin toured extensively in the United States and Europe, sharing projects with the likes of Mandolin Orange, Chuck Prophet, Gregg Allman, Chris Smither, Dave and Phil Alvin, and Tony Joe White.
Tolchin is currently on tour. He played in several halls in July. It will return to the Hopewell Theater on July 29, then to the Yellowstone Harvest Festival in Livingston, Montana. September 25.