Fountains Of Wayne will break a nearly four-year span between studio albums with the release this week of the Virgin project “Traffic and Weather.” “It’s a little bit ‘Elanor Rigby’-esque, in that it’s about these two lonely people living in New York,” group member Adam Schlesinger says of first single “Someone to Love.” “It has a disco-y beat, which is something we don’t do a lot of. Melissa Auf Der Maur sings backing vocals, and that’s the first female vocal we’ve had since Dominique Durand from Ivy on the first album.”
“Traffic and Weather” also features “92 Subaru” (“It kind of sounds like the Doobie Brothers or Little Feat or something,” Schlesinger laughs), “Yolanda Hayes” (“about a woman who works at the DMV”) and the country-tinged “Fire in the Canyon,” which sports backing vocals from the Candy Butchers’ Mike Viola.
Initially, the band planned to split recording between Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, N.Y., and Stratosphere Studios in Manhattan, the latter of which is co-owned by Schlesinger, former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and Ivy’s Andy Chase.
“We had these grand ambitions to change our process,” Schlesinger says. “We went up to Woodstock and jammed, but in the end, only one thing from that session, ‘Strapped for Cash,’ turned into an actual song. For the rest of it, we went back to our usual method of writing on our own and bringing in a song to be arranged by everyone. Woodstock was good to get back together and loosen up, but I guess we’re pretty set in our ways.”