Aaron Lee Tasjan (New West)
Rising above a crowded Nashville-Americana landscape in a genre-defying musical spacecraft is Aaron Lee Tasjan. The craft is clearly of his own design with proper respect paid to the indelible and vintage marks of his influences, and these impressions combine seamlessly with Tasjan’s unique artistry on his fourth full-length album, Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! released February 5. This warm and somewhat psychedelic experience of self-aware songs may appear on a record entitled thricely eponymous but never come off as self-indulgent.
Tasjan’s records are full of writing that’s intelligent and funny as well as relatable and occasionally prophetic, and this one’s no different in that regard, but this time they’re more personal and sonically explorative. Tasjan explains, “I knew I wanted to create some sounds with the guitar that were different sonically than my previous work. To that end, a lot of the sounds on this record that sound like synths or strings or other instruments are actually guitar. So far as songwriting, I wrote and recorded a lot of material for this album. The goal was to not have a goal. To just let it flow and see where it went. After a while, the songs started to tell a story. It felt like my story so I titled the album using my own name three times.”
Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! opens with “Sunday Women,” a Poppy call out to the perfect girl who isn’t answering, moves into advisory tale “Computer of Love,” then on to the devastatingly catchy “Up All Night,” before encroaching on The Beatles turf with “Another Lonely Day.” Later on comes “Feminine Walk,” a tune Tasjan claims as “very autobiographical,” standout track “Dada Bois” with its Beach Boys vibes, and the record ends with the beautifully haunting, satisfying, and aptly named “Got What I Wanted”. The songs were written over the course of two years and wound up remaining in this chronological order resulting in a record that’s a transformational and ultimately evolutionary listening experience.
The Traveling Wilburys-esque “Up All Night” is catching adds coast-to-coast from WUIN to KRSH, and in-between at KROK, KMTN, WZEW, and WXPK. Meanwhile “Feminine Walk” is finding steady spins at KHUM.
Photo by Curtis Way