A veritable avalanche of material from singer/songwriter Ryan Adams is slated for release over the next few months. And, as Adams paints it, it all comes as a result of disagreements he had with his label, Lost Highway.
On Nov. 4, Lost Highway issues both the acclaimed singer/songwriter’s next full-length, “llornkcoR” (rock’n’roll spelled backwards), as well as the EP “Love Is Hell, Part 1.” On Dec. 9, the second “Love Is Hell” installment arrives. Both EPs, Adams says, may extend to as many as seven or eight tracks. In addition, Lost Highway is prepping European singles that will feature alternative rock covers and different bonus cuts for the same song. It’s unclear at this point whether the singles will be released in North America.
All this, according to Adams, is a somewhat happy ending to a battle he had with Lost Highway over its rejection of the full-length version of “Love Is Hell,” an album he calls “the work of my life.” Referencing the likes of the Smiths, Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake, the album, he says, was dark, doomy and full of what he refers to as “really f***ed up” lyrics.
However happy Adams was with the project, Lost Highway chief Luke Lewis tells Billboard.com he quite frankly thought the singer could do better. Lewis says it’s important that Adams’ next album — the official follow-up to his revered 2001 effort, “Gold” — be the best the singer could offer. Adams, he says, could scale even loftier heights if he spent more time crafting and fine tuning his work. But he has to be pushed — and that was what the label hoped to accomplish by rejecting “Love Is Hell.”
After the rejection, the famously prolific Adams says he cut all ties to the label for months and headed into the studio, paying for sessions on his own credit card. The two EPs, “llornkcoR” and the singles are a mix of the songs created in various sessions, including a brief stint in New Orleans with Smiths producer John Porter. However, the “Love Is Hell” EPs are not the original album cut in halves. Eventually, the two EPs will be joined together in a vinyl release.
“Love Is Hell,” Adams says, is “something that I totally believe in, and people close to me, who have heard it, it has affected them in very serious ways, not just in like a ‘This is nice, this is big, and it rocks’-kind of way. It’s a completely unstylized and an absolutely reckless album. [It was] the place where I was the most myself and freest. It kind of had — has — the potential to be a doomy record that can befriend people who are in a doomy place. And that wasn’t a career move that my label felt like I needed to make at that time.”
In contrast, “llornkcoR,” which he refers to as “Rock’n’roll Reverse,” is his most thoroughly upbeat, ballad-lite, straight-up rock record yet. And it has Lost Highway and Lewis excited. “I had just done ‘Love Is Hell,'” Adams says, “and I’m always on about doing something I wasn’t doing before, because I do a lot of different types of stuff, obviously. So this was just the thing I needed to do, ’cause I hadn’t done it yet. It was a fun thing to do, the obvious thing to do.” Some have falsely called it his reaction to the current rock scene and bands such as the Strokes. “Personally, I think the rock scene already expired, ya know?,” he says. “The milk’s going bad tomorrow.”
“llornkcoR” features guest turns by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, ex-Hole/Smashing Pumpkins bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur and Adams’ current girlfriend, actress Parker Posey. It was largely created from songs written and arranged by Adams and friend/drummer Johnny T. He’s also worked with Patti Smith bassist Tony Shanahan over the past year.
In addition to the material that will compose the EPs, singles and “llornkcoR,” Adams says he has more than 30 fairly new songs in the can. He’s also working on other projects, none of which he would provide details about. All of this joins the recently issued “We Are F*** You/Punk’s Dead Let’s F***” (One Little Indian). As previously reported, that album is the debut from the Finger, the hardcore band Adams formed with Johnny T., former D Generation frontman Jesse Malin and vocalist Colin Burns. Adams, who is listed as Warren Peace, is the guitarist in the group and does not sing on the record.
Adams, who produced Malin’s revered solo bow, “The Fine Art of Self Destruction,” is also currently helming the follow-up. What’s more, he is considering streaming new songs he and Johnny T. come up with on his official Web site on a weekly basis.