When Johnathan Ford formed post-rock Unwed Sailor in 1998, he had already been in two bands: math rock band Roadside Monument, and David Bazan‘s legendary indie band Pedro the Lion (Ford tracked bass for Pedro the Lion’s album It’s Hard to Find a Friend). So when he formed the mostly instrumental Unwed Sailor project, he was joined by Bazan, Casey Wescott (Fleet Foxes), and Melissa Palladino (Danielson Famile), to record their debut Firecracker EP.
He has since had eight different bandmates, and Unwed Sailor has released seventeen LPs and EPs. Ford is currently joined by the impeccable drummer Matthew Putman (Lovedrug) and David Swatzell on guitar.
‘Truth or Consequences’ is shaped around familiar musical DNA. Heavily present, driving, and stacked bass lines; wandering and evolving song structures; soaring crescendos and moody diminuendos; and, of course, a gripping sense of sonic storytelling.Unwed Sailor (BandCamp)
Unwed Sailor’s first single for Truth or Consequences is out today, called Blitz. The instrumental has sampled sounds mixed with live instrumentation and selective uses of synths, along with elements of ambient shoegaze while remaining upbeat and mixing in clean guitar.
We spoke with Matthew Putman about Truth or Consequences, and this is what he shared:
“We started working on ‘Truth or Consequences’ (TOC) in 2018, and the songs slowly came together as we simultaneously worked on the albums ‘Heavy Age’ (2019) and ‘Look Alive’ (2020). John is always thinking and planning several albums ahead when we’re writing and recording, so he’s constantly making decisions about which songs belong together in terms of an album feel/flow.“
“I see ‘TOC’ and ‘Look Alive’ as sister albums in a way, partly because they were both recorded primarily at my home studio in Arkansas, but also because the songs represent two distinct vibes that came together naturally over that time period. Whereas ‘Look Alive’ is moody and cinematic, TOC is more playful and takes an unconventional approach towards instrumental pop at times.“
“Johnathon’s bass parts are always the anchor, establishing the rhythmic and melodic core of the songs with brilliant soul and intention. And Dave’s guitar playing brings a swirling, otherworldly sense of melody and nostalgia. At the end of the day, I’m a huge fan of what these guys do far beyond my own contributions to the band. John and Dave are the kind of players that you could drop into the middle of almost any recording session with amazing results.“
The album is available for pre-order on vinyl, with four vinyl color designs to choose from. It will also be out on cassette and CD. You can find it on BandCamp.
Truth or Consequences track-listing:
- Voodoo Roux
- Truth or Consequences
- Dark of the Morning
Unwed Sailor links:
If you enjoy Puddlegum, consider supporting this blog.