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Jonah Tolchin Lava Lamp Yep Roc Records

Jonah Tolchin To Release Fifth Album ‘Lava Lamp’


“I wanted to let go and cut loose with this album,” says Jonah Tolchin of Lava Lamp, out July 15. “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 and hip hop and punk growing up. Somewhere along the way, though, I feel like I lost that part of myself. These songs are my way of reclaiming it.”

Featuring seven original compositions and two covers: “Car You Drive” by Josh Flowers and Tom Petty’s “Grew Up Fast,” Lava Lamp is a raw and emotional reckoning with alienation and escapism in a modern-day world defined by 24/7 stimulation. More sonically diverse than his previous releases, the album’s lifeblood is built around the energy of loose, live-in-the-studio performances steeped in Tolchin’s folk-blues stylings and fueled by grunge guitars and a robust rhythm section.

Today, Tolchin shares “Car You Drive,” a track with an addictive slick bassline and intoxicating groove. “I met Josh Flowers (the author of this song) in London when I was on tour. I was asked by my buddy Joe Harvey Whyte to come sit in on their ambient background jam session during a life drawing class. Meeting someone for the first time, while making up intentionally bizarre instrumental music as there are naked people being drawn, is a pretty trippy time—an excellent way to make a new friend. When I was back on the train going to my next show, I dug into his catalog and came across this song. I knew immediately that I wanted to record it.” 

Co-produced with multi-instrumentalist/engineer Nic Coolidge, Lava Lamp was recorded with a three-piece that included Coolidge on bass and Tolchin’s longtime friend and collaborator Kevin Clifford on drums. “The three of us are the only musicians on the entire album,” explains Tolchin, who played more electric guitar than ever on the album. “We recorded most of it, even my vocals, live on the floor as a band, just feeding off each other’s energy.”

Lava Lamp arrives July 15 on CD and vinyl. First Edition LP limited to 600 copies worldwide and pressed on lava lamp color vinyl. Pre-order now.

From the opening hypnotic “Black Hole” to the punchy “Aliens” (co-write with Marvin Etzioni) that channels The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas with its angular guitars and lo-fi vocals; to the churning, gritty, retro-futuristic hooks of Dan Auerbach and Jack White on “Never Giving Up,” to the brooding title track that lands between Nirvana and The Sonics as Tolchin declares, “When I watch my lava lamp I don’t want to feel a fucking thing,” the album finds him returning to the musical sandbox of his youth.

“I’ve had this lava lamp since I was a kid,” says Tolchin, “and one day, I was just looking at it, oscillating between feeling really calm and at peace and really anxious and depressed. Those lyrics came out almost as a joke at first, but I realized there was actually something deeper there about learning to be present in the moment.”

Hailed by No Depression as “an artist with substantial creative range,” the New Jersey native began his career as a DIY artist, hitting the road as a teenager and self-releasing Criminal Man (2012). His Yep Roc Records debut, the critically acclaimed Clover Lane (2014), was followed by Thousand Mile Night (2016) and Fires for the Cold (2019). He has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, sharing the stage with Chuck Prophet, Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin, Tony Joe White, Gregg Allman, and Joseph Arthur.

Lava Lamp Tracklisting:

1. Black Hole

2. Car You Drive

3. Never Giving Up

4. Lava Lamp

5. Oklahoma

6. Aliens

7. Grew Up Fast

8. Bridge

9. Wooden Leg

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