Harlow's presents

Remo Drive

Wilt

All Ages
Sunday, March 24
Doors: 7pm // Show: 8pm
$20
$20 Advance – $25 Day of Show
This Event is All Ages
All sales are final, please review before purchasing. No Refunds.

Remo drive

To find their muse again, REMO DRIVE went back to where it all began: their parents’ basement. It had been a long time coming for the Paulson brothers – Erik (vocals, guitar) and Stephen (bass) – who formed Remo Drive in Bloomington, Minnesota, in 2013 and have since captivated audiences around the world with an earnest, idiosyncratic brand of indie-rock and two highly lauded albums: 2017’s Greatest Hits and 2019’s Natural, Everyday Degradation.

 

When the Paulsons stumbled across a Tascam recording desk on Facebook Marketplace in 2019, they thought it might make a nice starting point to demo songs for their then-forthcoming third LP. But $250 and a few weeks later, they found themselves fully entrenched in making the actual album itself. Not only that, but the safety and security of their parents’ home provided a welcome respite for the brothers, who have learned they’re most creative without a ticking clock and prying eyes peeking over their shoulders.

 

“Our workflow is naturally different from what most producers and studios like to do,” Erik explains. “We take things in our own weird approach and order. There’s a sense of privacy working at home. It doesn’t feel like you’re working with the door open during the incubation process.”

 

The resulting album, A PORTRAIT OF AN UGLY MAN (due out June 26 on Epitaph) finds the band truly in their element – both physically and sonically. Whereas the Paulsons filtered their buoyant songwriting through the concise lens of storytellers like Bruce Springsteen and The Killers on Natural, Everyday Degradation, LP3 is more spontaneous, awash in the same sort of acrobatic guitar arrangements and levity that made Greatest Hits such an underground favorite.

 

“I wanted to get back to playing guitar the way I used to, and then throw songwriting on top of that,” Erik says. “On the last album, I approached playing guitar in a more songwriter-y way. I had really scaled it back so it wouldn’t be as hard for me to sing and play simultaneously, but the guitar is way more forward again now.” 

 

Self-produced and mixed by the duo, A Portrait of an Ugly Man feels all at once familiar and fresh: The basement breathed a looseness into songs like “If I’ve Ever Looked Too Deep In Thought” and “Ode to Joy,” while the freedom of the sessions left the band able to explore the next evolution of their sound. As such, the 10-song set tips its hat to both the classic rock the brothers grew up on as well as previously untapped influences: Erik namechecks desert-rock artists like Queens of the Stone Age while admitting The Good, The Bad and The Ugly soundtrack and his binge-watching of old Westerns contributed to the album’s tremolo-heavy, American frontier gunslinger pastiche.

 

But this time around, the guiding hands of their musical influences is less overt, a conscious decision the band address on album standout “Star Worship,” which preaches the need to eschew reverence for others and instead trust in yourself. That unflinching sense of self-awareness is what made Remo Drive so endearing as they found their footing in the mid-2010s, but it’s never been as crystalized as it is on A Portrait of an Ugly Man. So while the songs still tackle life’s weighter topics, they’re cut with more self-deprecation and embrace all of life’s absurdity and weirdness in the process. They don’t attempt to minimize serious subjects, but rather provide some much-needed irreverence. 

 

“I was bumming myself out by trying to be more serious than I actually am,” Erik admits. “On this album, I wanted to write stuff that still communicated real ideas but had a bit of lighthearted, fun energy to it.”

 

In turning the mirror back at themselves in this way, Remo Drive have learned a lot about who they really are: A Portrait of an Ugly Man cements their place as an insular, self-sustaining act who don’t need shiny gear or expensive studios to produce a great album – that task starts and ends with the songs themselves. And, as it turns out, the recording process was proof that when it comes to a nurturing, creative environment, there’s no place like home.

 

“We’d been gone so much with touring that our parents were so excited to have us home,” Erik says. “They’d always come downstairs to hear what we were working on. They’re always used to us practicing, but seeing more of each other was really nice.”

 

“Plus,” he adds with a laugh, “there’s always some food in the fridge.” XX




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