WATERS has just a little bit going on right now. The band’s sophomore album What’s Real – frontman Van Pierszalowski’s second under this moniker and his first with a revamped lineup featuring three-quarters of The Tambo Rays – drops today on Vagrant Records. Sunday night in Albuquerque, they kicked off more than two months of touring that will see the quintet join Matt And Kim for 30 shows across the continent including a gig at The Warfield in May. When they’re done with those shows? They’re playing Live 105’s BFD 2015 and a little festival you might have heard of before called Outside Lands.
Oh, and as if their collective cup wasn’t overflowing quite enough, they played a ripping version of lead single “Got To My Head” on Conan last week after chilling with the late-night host and his special guest for the evening, none other than Ringo Starr.
That’s quite an eventful few months, but once you hear What’s Real in full, you’ll know that every ounce of acclaim this band has received or will receive is very much deserved, and should rightfully keep pouring in for the foreseeable future.
From the first chords of album opener and lead single “Got To My Head”, though the gentle acoustic guitar outro that is closer “Green Eyes”, What’s Real impresses with a beautiful mixture of pop hooks and alternative anthems that should solidify its spot on countless best of 2015 lists come December.
“This record was recorded over a 15-month period while I was living in San Francisco and taking road trips down to record with friend and Grouplove producer/drummer Ryan Rabin,” Pierszalowski explained in a very candid Facebook post last evening. “While current alternative radio is pumping out songs about the ‘best day of my life’ and ‘wanting to be like the cool kids,’ I wanted to write songs about heartbreak, about finding clarity, about feeling stuck in your hometown. And I wrote it with the hope that people connect with it in a visceral way. In an emotional way. The way I am connecting to it. A connection I feel is not as expected these days.”
What resulted was a group of 11 songs about escape (my personal favorite “Over It”), past relationships (“Got To My Head”, “I Feel Everything”), and living at home as an adult (“Mom & Dad’s”), following one-after-another with unceasing energy and raw, palpable emotion. And that’s exactly how the frontman envisioned the new album.
“It’s what I dreamt about when I was 14 and started playing guitar,” Pierszalowski wrote on Facebook. “It’s what I still dream about today. It’s WHAT’S REAL.”
Below, watch Pierszalowski and company tear through “Got To My Head” for Team Coco, listen to a five-song sampler from What’s Real, and get info on WATERS’ May 2 gig with Matt And Kim at The Warfield. Stream What’s Real in its entirety on Spotify, or head over to iTunes to pick up your digital copy. Vinyl is available (along with a host of other merch) over on Vagrant’s website.
Matt And Kim, WATERS
May 2, 2015
7pm, $25-35 (all ages)