When: 7.30pm on Sunday 12 May 2013
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ
We’re delighted to present the first Manchester show in two years for Jose Gonzalez’s band Junip.
‘In our case, it’s never simple.’ José González is describing the entire process – writing, recording, life – that went into the creation of Junip, the upcoming, self-titled album from the band he fronts alongside drummer Elias Araya and keyboardist Tobias Winterkorn, due for release on 22 April 2013 on City Slang. ‘All the ups and downs were very “Junip”,’ he adds, ‘so titling it with our name seemed appropriately iconic. It’s truly a band album.’
The distinction is important in Junip’s case, whose evolution has been a long, strange trip, indeed. The group formed in 1998 in Gothenburg, Sweden, but Junip didn’t actually release its acclaimed first album, Fields, until 2010. That delay stemmed largely from the success of González as a solo artist. The renowned singer-songwriter found international acceptance with his individual albums, 2003’s Veneer and 2007’s In Our Nature, which went on to sell over a million albums worldwide; audiences were captivated by the stark combination of González’s uniquely haunting voice and sinuous acoustic guitar on hits like Crosses and Down The Line, and distinctive interpretations of covers like The Knife’s Heartbeats. They were startled and beguiled, then, by hearing González in Junip’s band context, and one with such a propulsive, experimental bent: sprawling away from the stark folk aesthetic of González’s solo efforts, Fields teemed with driving motorik rhythms, psychedelic atmosphere, and dense synth textures.
Junip avoided the protracted evolution of Fields, however, and as a result resounds with immediacy. ‘With Junip, and this album in particular, it’s not the kind of stuff that ends up on my solo recordings,’ González notes. After touring extensively in the wake of Fields, Araya, González, Winterkorn found themselves gelling as a unit like never before, able to access uncharted new sounds and emotions with newfound fluidity. ‘We’d press “record” when we started jamming, and end up with a pretty complete song structure when we finished,’ González explains.
Just as with the first album, Junip was recorded in the trio’s rehearsal space over the course of a year, self-produced by the band with help from Don Alsterberg (sound guru to artists like Soundtrack of Our Lives, International Noise Conspiracy, and Graveyard). Just as Fields pushed boundaries and expectations, Junip expands the stylistic palette yet again with unexpected juxtapositions. ‘We’re somewhere between a German jazz band and an African pop band,’ González cracks.
Support comes from Barbarossa. James Mathé, sometime associate of the Fence Collective, Jose Gonzales and Johnny Flynn, trades in soul inflected electronics. With a kitbag full of huge, emotive songs that aim straight at the heart, big things are expected in 2013.