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We are thrilled to announce that our new full-length record, Big Hits!, is out today!
Celebrate the release with us at the Mohawk this Thursday, May 16, 2013.
Big Hits! is the first full-length album released by The Boxing Lesson in five years. It is not a concept album nor does it have political overtones, although it may offer solutions to some personal troubles. It’s more rock-oriented than The Boxing Lesson’s past albums. It is produced by Chris “Frenchie” Smith at The Bubble in Austin, TX, and contains a total of 11 songs. Big Hits! is not a jam-band album. Most tracks are under 4 minutes in length. There are lengthy guitar solos for cosmic relevance, but only in 3 songs. Synthesizers were used extensively but it’s neither new-age nor electronica music. Big Hits! is definitely psychedelic but not in a throw-back 60’s way. It’s recommended to listen to the songs in order, but if shuffled there will be no negative consequences. Multiple listens produce higher levels of understanding.
Jaylinn Davidson and Paul Waclawsky of The Boxing Lesson handled the synthesizers and guitar, respectively. (Charlie L. Harper III/Special Contributor)
AUSTIN – That’s a lot of noise coming from three people. We have the aggressive drum workout of 14-year-old Ben Redman. There’s the spacey, spooky synthesizer loops of Jaylinn Davidson. Plus the fuzzy, vibrate-the-room guitar riffs of Paul Waclawsky. He’s also the man behind the punk-brood voice.
Ben Redman, the 14-year-old drumming prodigy, kept the Boxing Lesson beat fortified. (Charlie L. Harper III/Special Contributor)
That’s the Boxing Lesson, Austin’s synthesized rock trio with the penchant for creating a psychedelic siren call sound that rattles and rivets. Performing Saturday night underneath the big tent of the Holy Mountain Backyard, the Boxing Lesson treated us to a brand new cut, the bone-gnawing “Eat Your Heart Out,” and the conceptual, epic-sized “Health Is the New Drug.” That latter tune sported a long instrumental intro before Waclawsky came in with a mannered, punky new wave vocal performance. It fit the sardonic edge of the song.
That cut is from the Boxing Lesson’s Big Hits album, its newest effort. The focus is on muscle, which is why the show had such reverberating force. “Better Daze” was a good example. The song was clearly driven by the heavy guitar and drums combination, but the synthesizers prominently tempered the onslaught. The same can be said for “Eastside Possibilities,” which Waclawsky declared that he wrote it about Austin.
Bathing Davidson, Redman and Davidson in slicing hues of purple, blue and green was ingenious. The colors actually match the temperament of the music. This is dark, haunting and razor sharp with a hard veneer.
Sat., March 16, 10pm, Holy Mountain Backyard
Paul Waclawsky has a love affair with space. “It goes back to the original Star Wars trilogy,” he admits. “It just really affected me. Space sounds like a synthesizer.”
Waclawsky’s maintained the Boxing Lesson since 2002, when he was still living in Los Angeles. Relocated to Austin nearly a decade ago, he’s shifted through several different lineups, April’s Big Hits being the first album from his latest trio: Lacy, synth warrior Jaylinn Davidson, and 14-year-old drummer, Ben Redman.
Yes, 14. After previous drummer Jake Mitchell was sentenced to five years for conspiring to manufacture marijuana, auditions were held, and Redman stood out.
“We have such synergy together, which is unlikely considering he’s a kid,” says Waclawsky.
“I’m pretty tired of talking about my age,” sighs Redman, also the beat keeper for local grunge trio Residual Kid. “I don’t want to be the little kid on the drums anymore.”
“He tried out against other grown ass men,” injects Davidson. “We didn’t hold it against him that he was 14, and we didn’t choose him because he was 14.”
Waclawsky’s old-school, claiming “Indie Rock Is Dead” a few albums ago. Big Hits has been in the works for several years with producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith. He writes music that pays attention to archaic rules: guitar solos, what makes sense on side A and side B. We joke about putting a sticker on the new album that simply reads: “Don’t listen on shuffle.”
“We wanted to do the Bowie Low thing, where one side is all rockers and the other side was all slow stuff,” explains Waclawsky. “Instead, we put the two long epics on either end and filled the middle with more rock-y, punk-y stuff.”
Is there a conceptual framework? Some grand universe-arching narrative in the liner notes? Not really. Running time shakes out to 47:47, but that’s just a happy accident. If there’s any saga to his music (and his worldview), Waclawsky says it’s simply possibilities.
“The first two songs are called ‘Endless Possibilities’ and ‘Eastside Possibilities,'” he points out. “We want to take it from outer space and bring it back to East Austin, where they’re sipping on the sidewalk.”
The Boxing Lesson constructs scorching, Seventies-imbued psych/prog/space rock in an era where it couldn’t be less in vogue. “It’s genuine goofiness,” laughs Waclawsky. – Luke Winkie
This article appeared in the print edition with the headline: 2,000 Light Years From Home.
Album: Big Hits!
Self-Release date: April 30, 2013