On October 19, The Extra Lens will release Undercard on Merge Records. The Extra Lens (previously known as The Extra Glenns), having streamlined their operation by dropping a G and a superfluous N from their name — and why gnot — enter the new century not a minute too soon, following up on 2000′s Martial Arts Weekend with Undercard, a collection of eleven original songs and a pretty ominous-sounding cover version.
Comprised of John Darnielle (the Mountain Goats) and Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue, the Human Hearts) and formed in the Inland Empire during the region’s brief next-Seattle shortlist period, the project began as a potential home for any song John wrote that had a) more than three chords or b) a bridge. New songs for the group only happened when John figured he’d written something that Franklin might find clever or amusing, although at least one such song, remembered as “Anti-Witchcraft Song,” is lost. Reasoning that permanent-bridesmaid status means you never have to actually buy the dress, the duo have approached record-making at a pace that one would call “leisurely” if it wouldn’t make the leisure class look like busybodies: one 7″, several compilation appearances, a one full-length at the dawn of the aughts, and now, arriving with Paul Masson-like deliberation, Undercard.
Recorded with Brian Paulson (Slint, Beck, US Maple) at the Rubber Room in Carrboro, North Carolina, and with Mitch Rackin (Excepter, Heavy Hands) at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn, Undercard is the first Extra Lens record to arrive as a full collaboration between songwriters. The recording method, however, persists: John plays guitar, sings, and then gets the hell out of Dodge City, leaving Franklin to provide arrangements as the songs required: here sparing, here ornate; sometimes gentle, sometimes not; once with vibraslap, mostly without.
We are also happy to announce that the Mountain Goats will join the Merge roster, as well!
Download “Only Existing Footage” from Undercard now and see The Extra Lens on tour this fall!
3. Only Existing Footage
4. Communicating Doors
5. Programmed Cell Death
6. How I Left the Ministry
7. Some Other Way
8. Ambivalent Landscape Z
9. In Germany Before the War
10. Tug on the Line
11. Rockin’ Rockin’ Twilight of the Gods
12. Dogs of Clinic 17