"intensely introspective." - NPR Music
Amen Dunes, the project of New York-based Damon McMahon, is set to release his third full-length album, Love, this May on Sacred Bones. It is McMahon's most focused and ambitious work yet. Amen Dunes has always been rooted in traditional song and sound, but Love is his first work in which this so clearly shines through. The guiding influence of Astral Weeks, Sam Cooke, Tim Hardin, Marvin Gaye, Hector Lavoe, and the cosmic non-verbal mediations of Leon Thomas all kept vigil over the songwriting of Love, and the spirit of late 60's/early 70's spiritual jazz of Pharaoh Sanders and Alice Coltrane channeled the sound. The result is simply the most substantial Amen Dunes record to date. These are elemental songs about time, love and memory, as much about the listener as they are about the writer: pure, open, and beautiful.
Where the previous Amen Dunes records - D.I.A. (Locust Music, 2009), "Murder Dull Mind" EP (Sacred Bones, July 2010) and Through Donkey Jaw (Sacred Bones, August 2011) -- had all been largely improvisational first-take affairs, recorded in a matter of weeks at most, Love is the product of close to a year and a half of continuous work. As McMahon began to flesh out the new material, he found himself guided by the aforementioned work of classic American singers and songs more strongly than on any previous Amen Dunes record. And unlike the earlier recordings of McMahon's, which were almost always a solo affair, the music on Love was performed by a variety of musicians, centered around the core trio and symbiotic interplay of McMahon, and his longstanding collaborators, Jordi Wheeler (guitar and piano) and Parker Kindred (drums).
Eager to capture a musical feeling outside the confines of New York City, McMahon chose to hold the main recording sessions in Montreal with Dave Bryant and Efrim Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. In addition to recording the sessions that McMahon produced, members of Godspeed also played on several of the songs, along with Colin Stetsonon saxophone and several other Montreal musicians. The remainder of the recordings took place back in Brooklyn at Strange Weather and Trout Recording, and featured additional performances by a handful of musicians, including Elias Bender Ronnenfelt of Iceage and Vår, who duets with McMahon on "Green Eyes" and is featured on first single, "Lonely Richard."
Amen Dunes' Love is out May 13th on Sacred Bones. Listen below to "Lonely Richard," also available on Sacred Bones' Record Store Day compilation, "Todo Muere Vol. 4." And catch Amen Dunes on tour with Mac DeMarco this spring. More Amen Dunes tour dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
LISTEN TO/SHARE AMEN DUNES' "LONELY RICHARD" -
AMEN DUNES' TOUR DATES (all w/ Mac DeMarco):
Mon. March 31 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Tue. April 1 - Oberlin, OH @ Dionysus Club
Wed. April 2 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Thu. April 3 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
Fri. April 4 - Wakefield, QC @ Blacksheep
Sat. April 5 - Sherbrooke, QC @ Boquebiere
Sun. April 6 - Montreal, QC @ Societe des Arts Technologiques
Mon. April 7 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
Wed. April 9 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Amen Dunes online: