New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
How singular that PR Newman doesn't stand for the name of the artist, nor for "Public Relations", but for "Punk-rock Randy Newman". The nickname, earned a couple of years ago during his 4 years co-fronting for the band the Berkshire Hounds, is a testimony of Spencer Garland's influences. If the punk has grown quieter, the rock has grown and developed new dimensions. Garland released his new album Turn Out locally in Austin, Texas
last winter before signing a deal with Germany's Devil Duck Records, who just opened an outpost there. They'll issue the album internationally on July 20th. Turn Out is chock-full of groovy, soul-infused power pop with raw edges, juxtaposed with sophisticated arrangements and Beatles-y orchestration. Austin's powerhouse music site Do512 premiered the video for his first single "But No", calling it "...frantic, whistle-filled...Like the song itself, the video is joyously frenetic and instantly memorable."
Turn Out is Garland's first album as PR Newman. And, while he admits his music is inherently American, PR Newman doesn't do cliché or some "throwback/tribute" music. It's modern, innovative; he calls it "Modern Rock'n'Roll". Garland is also keyboardist in Black
Puma, a psychedelic soul band who are garnering their own share of buzz. He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing drums, guitar, bass, banjo, harmonica and piano.
Lyric-wise, this debut album is a reflection of the change in Garland's state of mind in recent years, and of the experiences that brought it upon. It ranges from stories of struggling with addictions ('Here Comes The Ranger') and emotions ('Keep On, Hard Days'), shallow obsessions of the younger generations ('Let's Go Meet in a Small Town') to love songs ('Everything'), funny anecdotes about dorm life (Room 3H) and growing wiser ('Go To Hell'). However, regardless of the topic, each song keeps a quirky and humorous twist to it, signature of Garland's writing. The third track 'Way and Me', for example, tackles the loss of his dog Hemingway (whose nickname was "Way") in a breakup but leaves doubt as to whether he misses his dog or his former partner.
The musical influences of those tracks are, too, just as varied. Through subtle hints, Turn Out also acts as an accolade to some of Garland's favourite artists, such as Stereolab ('Go To Hell'), Funkadelic ('Here Comes The Rangers' and 'Right Here'), Steely Dan
('Way and Me') or D'Angelo and Prince
('Let's Go Meet in a Small Town'). The production vibes of Lou Reed
Bowie during the Berlin period hold sway over the album; the horn arrangements bring to mind Garland's hero Chet Baker
and keyboards bear the mark of Donny Hathaway.