Back together after a 10-year hiatus, American Music Club will release an all-new 13-song studio album Oct. 12 through Merge Records.
Back together after a 10-year hiatus, American Music Club will release an all-new 13-song studio album Oct. 12 through Merge Records. "Love Songs for Patriots" is AMC's first album since 1994's "San Francisco" and was recorded with all of the band's original members. It will be supported via a North American tour in September and October.
"A lot of these were songs I had sitting around," AMC frontman Mark Eitzel tells Billboard.com. "Songs like 'Ladies and Gentlemen,' 'Patriot's Heart' and 'Job To Do,' I already had written and recorded for an album I had planned to do with [former Wilco multi-instrumentalist] Jay Bennett in Chicago. But now I don't think those original versions will ever see the light of day, even though I think they're good. I just don't want them to get in the way with what AMC's doing."
Other tracks set for the new album include "Love Is," "Myopic Books," "Hotel Bar," and "The Devil Needs You." The cut "Another Morning" is available as a free download on American Music Club's official Web site.
"There are a lot of different textures. And the song titles are pretty intriguing," Eitzel says, citing numbers like "Montovani the Mind Reader" and "Song of the Rats Leaving the Sinking Ship." Of the latter, a knock on George W. Bush, the frontman calls it "a song for the Presidential inauguration of 2005."
As for the group's alignment with Merge, Eitzel adds, "Our deal with Merge is kind of a dream come true. I'm amazed that they did it and I'm really happy they did it. There was some interest from other labels and more money offered in some cases, but I just figured that [label owner and Superchunk co-founder] Mac [McCaughan] is a musician, so he understands a little better. Plus, he's been into the band a long time. I mean, he was at our first-ever show in Chapel Hill -- right in the front row. Of course, there were only 20 people there that night, everyone was in the front row."
Speaking of the reunion, the San Francisco-based Eitzel chuckles, "If you ask any member of the band, they'll say they were responsible. But I think it really goes back about two years ago, when I went down to L.A. to hang out with [guitarist] Vudi [real name: Mark Pankler] and see if he'd like to get involved in the project again. [Drummer] Tim [Mooney] also has a recording studio, so that meant that we were able to work with virtually no money upfront."
"Everyone's kind of fatter," Eitzel says, when asked if things have changed. "But the only big difference, and it can be a real obstacle at times, is that we don't live in the same city anymore. Which means we can't rehearse everyday. And the thing about American Music Club is that we used to rehearse every single day. But we'll be rehearsing properly before we head out on tour."
The only confirmed tour dates so far are Sept. 2 in Portland, Ore., and Sept. 4 at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival.
Founded in the Bay Area in 1983, AMC released acclaimed independent albums like 1987's "Engine," 1988's "California," and 1991's "Everclear," which led to a major-label deal with Reprise. The 1993 Mitchell Froom-produced "Mercury" shined with critics but stalled commercially. American Music Club had disbanded by January 1995.
"When we broke up it had nothing to with anything except money," Eitzel insists. "I mean, back then we never agreed about anything. But we also never had negative feelings toward each other. Of course, I'm sure people would expect it. I used to say it was my fault that it ended, but I guess none of that really matters now that we're back."