Lost Highway has set July 18 as the release date for “Another Fine Day,” the first release in eight years from Golden Smog. The lauded supergroup features Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Soul Asylum’s Dan Murphy, Big Star’s Jody Stephens and the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Kraig Johnson.
Again sporting separate songwriting contributions from Tweedy, Louris, Perlman, Murphy and Johnson, the band’s fourth album is composed of 14 originals and a cover of the Kinks’ Dave Davies’ “Strangers,” sung by Louris and Tweedy.
The first Golden Smog album to follow both Wilco’s ascension to “it”-band status and reports of a Jayhawks break-up, “Another Fine Day” was recorded last year in two separate sessions, the first sans Tweedy and Stephens in the south of Spain, the second with the full band in Minneapolis.
The songs from the first session, captured in Puerto De Santa Maria, feature Linda Pitmon (Steve Wynn, Zuzu’s Petals) on drums, and vocals from Muni Loco, wife of Paco Loco, who co-produced the disc with Ed Ackerson (Mason Jennings, the Jayhawks) and the band.
“Another Fine Day” began to take shape when bassist Perlman was asked to write a song for a Guy Ritchie-directed Corvette commercial. While the song was never used in the ad, the core band of Perlman, Louris, Murphy and Johnson got together and began writing the first half of the record. “It was four guys mumbling into a microphone for a few sessions and going, ‘Oh, this could be a song,'” says Louris.
On the band’s previous, Ryko-released discs, the songwriter who wrote a particular song usually sang it. But perhaps due to how “Another Fine Day” was born, it sounds like more of a band effort, and less easily divisible by songwriter/singer.
Yet there are definite specific songwriter vehicles, like Murphy’s “Hurricane,” which while slightly twangy is driven by his trademark, revved-up Soul Asylum riffing. The harmonica-punctuated, piano-dusted “Gone” is pure Louris. Meanwhile, “Corvette,” the song that started it all, is vintage power pop, and Louris and Tweedy’s “Listen Joe,” is a sparse, acoustic song for a long-gone friend.
Debuting with a covers EP in 1992, the occasional band has at different points also featured Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner, ex-Replacements drummer Chris Mars, Noah Levy of the Honeydogs and violinist Jessy Greene of the Geraldine Fibbers. Although Golden Smog had been virtually dormant since wrapping a tour behind 1998’s “Weird Tales,” last year, Louris, Perlman, Murphy and Johnson played a handful of Golden Smog dates sans Tweedy.
Here is the track listing for “Another Fine Day”:
“You Make It Easy”
“Another Fine Day”
“Long Time Ago”
“Cure For This”
“Frying Pan Eyes”
“Never Felt Before”
“Think About Yourself”