Rogue Wave Heads 'Heaven'-Ward With Brushfire
After two albums for Sub Pop, Bay Area-based indie rock act Rogue Wave has inked a new deal with Jack Johnson's Brushfire label via Universal.After two albums for Sub Pop, Bay Area-based indie rock act Rogue Wave has inked a new deal with Jack Johnson's Brushfire label via Universal. A new album, "Asleep at Heaven's Gate," will arrive Sept. 18 and will be followed by an October North American tour.
"They have a kind of ethic I haven't seen in any label before -- it's not just financial or environmental responsibility," frontman Zach Rogue tells Billboard.com of Brushfire. "It's a business responsibility. They'll put everything into every artist, not just some of them. That said, their roster of artists doesn't sound like us, but clearly they want to expand what they're doing, and this is their first step in doing that."
The past year has been a time of major transition for Rogue Wave, which gained new bass player Patrick Abernathy (formerly of Beulah) as well as new management and a new booking agent. In addition, drummer Pat Spurgeon had a successful kidney transplant after a protracted search for a donor, a process that is being chronicled for an upcoming documentary.
This upheaval is reflected in the new music, which branches farther out in unusual directions than on any prior Rogue Wave album. The six-and-a-half-minute opener "Harmonium" is "probably the most bold thing we've ever tried," Rogue says. "They tried to talk me out of opening with a song so structurally inconsistent, but I said absolutely not. I've been thinking about that song for a year-and-a-half. It took like six months to figure it out on paper and then six months more to figure out how a band could play it."
Elsewhere, "Phonytown" is the result of a two-hour studio jam, while "Missed" was captured on a reel-to-reel tape during a session between Rogue and Spurgeon at Rogue's mom's house. The band was also forced to meticulously edit and in some cases re-record material that wound up out of pitch due to a tape machine malfunction, but Rogue is looking on the bright side of that turn of events.
"That was a significant blow, but we made it work," he says. "If you feel a bit of a warble when you're listening, just go with it. There are so many cool mistakes and things blending together on the record. There's one point when Pat made some comment about Little Richard and he yelps like him. We played it back and it is uncanny how it fits with the song."
Having spent the better part of a year off the road, Rogue Wave will soon begin hunkering down to prepare for the fall outing. We need to start rehearsing because we haven't toured in so long," Rogue says. "It will be a lot of figuring out how in the world to play these songs live."