Today, Ducktails is sharing The Flower Lane highlight "Letter of Intent", which features vocals from Jessa Farkas of Future Shuttle and Ian Drennan of Big Troubles, today via Vogue. The song's release comes in conjunction with the announcement of the album's record release show and European tour, the former of which will take place at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City on January 23rd and feature all of The Flower Lane's guest musicians performing the album in full. The European dates will see Ducktails touring as a full band, rather than Matt performing solo. Stream "Letter of Intent" and pre-order the record below.
The Flower Lane will be available in a deluxe pre-order LP edition that features an old-fashioned hand made letter pressed sleeve AND 180 gram heavyweight vinyl. The deluxe pre-order edition is limited to a pressing of only 300 copies. A non-letterpressed, 150GM standard edition LP will also be available. All album pre-orders immediately receive free downloads of "The Flower Lane" and "Letter of Intent".
01/23/13 - New York, NY - (Le) Poisson Rouge
02/15/13 - Paris, FR - Maroquinerie
02/16/13 - Brussels, BE - Botanique
02/17/13 - Amsterdam, NE - Paradiso
02/18/13 - Nijmegen, NE - Merleyn
02/19/13 - Hamburg, DE - Prinzenbar
02/20/13 - Berlin, DE - Haus Ungarn (EX.-HBC)
02/22/13 - Copenhagen, DK - Frost
02/24/13 - Brighton, UK - Green Door Store
02/25/13 - London, UK - The Lexington
Both familiar and strikingly new, The Flower Lane marks for Matthew Mondanile - the musician and songwriter behind Ducktails - a release on which the myriad of ideas he's explored previously under the Ducktails moniker (three full-lengths, a welter of singles and self-released cassettes) mature and come into clearer focus. Equal parts playful and experimental, the earlier recordings flirted with pop formats in passing, but on The Flower Lane Mondanile establishes a disciplined clarity that embraces classic song structure and abundant pop hooks -- though with undertows still capable of pulling you just slightly, but pleasantly, off balance.
The Flower Lane marks a number of key changes for Mondanile's writing and recording process as Ducktails, not least that he has welcomed collaborators into what was before a mostly self-recorded solo project. Among these are the record's co-producer and engineer Al Carlson, who has previously manned the boards for the likes of fellow pop-abstractionists Peaking Lights and Oneohtrix Point Never. The recording also included a large cast of guest musicians including Daniel Lopatin (of Oneohtrix Point Never), Joel Ford (of Ford & Lopatin), Madeline Follin (of Cults), Sam Mehran (of Outer Limits) and Jessa Farkas (of Future Shuttle), along with members of Mondanile's other band, Real Estate, and members of Big Troubles, who also serve as Mondanile's live band for performances.
This full-band-working-in-a-studio recording process has produced a lush and fully formed pop record that is a stark contrast to the looseness of Ducktails' earliest incarnations as a cassette-based sound collage artist. The origins of the Ducktails project date back to 2006, the summer before Mondanile graduated from college, when he began assembling home recordings in a Northampton, Massachusetts farm shack. Inspired by local noise and avant-garde artists within a healthy DIY Massachusetts cassette scene, Mondanile cut his own tape and dubbed off ten copies, which he sold via these cassette circles. "They were improvised, kraut-influenced," he says now of these solo recordings. "Weird collages that kind of resembled pop but were more abstract."
He began playing basement shows and, after graduating, booked himself a short tour that included a performance at now-defunct Los Angeles venue The Echo Studio. There he met Not Not Fun Records founder Britt Brown, who asked Mondanile to record his first proper album for the label. This first, self-titled Ducktails album was released in early 2009, shortly after he moved to New York. While he was touring for this record his other band, Real Estate, also began to take shape and ultimately gain widespread critical acclaim. These developments, however, didn't slow Mondanile's prolific output. A second Ducktails album - Landscapes, for the small New York label Olde English Spelling Bee - also arrived in 2009, followed by a plethora of split-LPs, EPs, and singles. The third Ducktails full-length, III: Arcade Dynamics, appeared on Woodsist Records in 2011.
These records document Ducktails' evolution, its taking shape. And you can hear Mondanile becoming more comfortable using his voice and classic song structures as the vehicles for his distinct brand of psychedelic pop, growing from the primitive sketches of his first cassettes, to the full-blown pop songs on The Flower Lane. From the raggedy, Steely Dan-on-a-budget chime of the title track, through the soulful urban chug of "Sedan Magic", the beguiling House-inflected synths of "Assistant Director", the windswept New Wave dramas of "Letter of Intent", or the off-the-cuff charms of "Academy Avenue" - Ducktails' The Flower Lane is very much the product of the now full-time musician's move away from his earlier rural Massachusetts and Suburban New Jersey settings, to his current metropolitan home base. Running throughout The Flower Lane is an imagined or dream version the City; "It's like this big, idealized idea of New York City, of Manhattan, and that classic idea of romance in a city. Like, some kind of romantic tourist or outsider's idea of New York City plays out in these songs, and was in my mind while I was recording" says Mondanile.
This urban romanticism ultimately separates Ducktails from Real Estate -- both sonically and lyrically. "Real Estate is like this rural, suburban New Jersey, almost rootsy kind of thing. But The Flower Lane is more of an isolated, City-Of-A-Million-People concept, of these weird, desolate Manhattan romances. Like the idea of a Woody Allen movie, or something." It's an idea that's manifest in both the album's lovelorn NYC characters depicted in its lyrics, as well as in the album's very earnest embracing of smooth soft-rock and dance music.
The Flower Lane
1. Ivy Covered House
2. The Flower Lane
3. Under Cover
4. Timothy Shy
5. Planet Phrom
6. Assistant Director
7. Sedan Magic
8. International Date Line
9. Letter Of Intent
10. Academy Avenue