Steve Berlin Produced album is a departure from the solo one person band approach, embracing outside influence to peel his sound apart and reconstruct it into a powerfully direct work.
New York, NY (January 22, 2019) – The latest album from The Suitcase Junket, Mean Dog, Trampoline is populated by characters in various states of reverie: leaning on jukeboxes, loitering on dance floors, lying on the bottoms of empty swimming pools in the sun. Despite being deeply attuned to the chaos of the world, singer/songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Matt Lorenz imbues those moments with joyful wonder, an endless infatuation with life’s most subtle mysteries. And as its songs alight on everything from Joan Jett to moonshine to runaway kites, Mean Dog, Trampoline makes an undeniable case for infinite curiosity as a potent antidote to jadedness and despair.
The Suitcase Junket will release Mean Dog, Trampoline on April 5 via Signature Sounds and today shares the video for “Dandelion Crown”. The track instils a warm empathy into its loving and nuanced portrait of addiction and the video duplicates Lorenz into his own bandmates; echoing his live performance life in a new light.
“The song came from thinking about how you can lose control of your life by degrees, until you don’t even recognize yourself anymore,” says Lorenz. “But there’s still a little redemption in there—those moments when things become sweet and clear again, despite the fact that you’re permanently changed as a person.”
Produced by Steve Berlin (Jackie Greene, Rickie Lee Jones, Leo Kottke) of Los Lobos, Mean Dog, Trampoline marks a deliberate departure from the self-recorded, homespun approach of The Suitcase Junket’s previous efforts. In creating the album, Lorenz pulled from a fantastically patchwork sonic palette, shaping his songs with elements of jangly folk, fuzzed-out blues, oddly textured psych-rock. Engineered by Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Speedy Ortiz) and mixed by Vance Powell (Jack White, Houndmouth), Mean Dog, Trampoline rightly preserves The Suitcase Junket’s unkempt vitality, but ultimately emerges as his most powerfully direct album so far.
Throughout Mean Dog, Trampoline, The Suitcase Junket explores everyday dangers of all kinds, infusing each track with his idiosyncratic storytelling and effusive vocal presence. With its restless melodies and tender intensity, the album-opening “High Beams” offers an up-close look at an unsteady romance (She was pacing like a raging bull /With a heart half full of hurt, half full of doubting/And like everything I thought I had/It turned half bad before I got to think about it).
A more playful reflection on romantic confusion, “Everything I Like” conjures a happily punch-drunk mood from its bouncy groove and Billy Joel references. “It’s about a relationship where you can’t quite understand each other but sometimes there’s a little clarity—like when a song you both love comes on the radio and all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Oh, we know what to do now,’” says Lorenz.
With its name nodding to Lorenz’s longtime love of collecting old suitcases (including an antique that he’s refurbished into a bass drum) and to a secondary definition of junket (i.e., “a pleasure excursion”), The Suitcase Junket reveals all the warmth and wildness to be found within such limitation. Not only proof of his ingenuity as a songmaker, that improbable richness is ineffably bound to Lorenz’s purposeful fascination—an element he alludes to in discussing one of his most beloved tracks on Mean Dog, Trampoline, the gloriously clattering “Stay Too Long”.
“I’m the kind of person who wants to stay around till the very end of whatever’s happening,” Lorenz says of the song’s inspiration. “Whether it’s a party or something else, I always want to know how it ends. Even if it’s probably gonna be a total disaster, I want to be there to see it all.”
The Suitcase Junket is currently on tour in the UK, hitting Folk Alliance in Montreal next month, followed by a national tour to support the album. A full list of tour dates can be found below with more to be added.
The Suitcase Junket Tour Dates
Jan 23 – Exeter, UK @ The Phoenix #
Jan 25 – Mylor Cornwall, UK @ Tremayne Hall #
Jan 26 – Bristol, UK @ St. George’s Bristol #
Jan 27 – London, UK @ Walthamstow Folk #
Jan 28 – Sheffield, UK @ The Greystones #
Jan 29 – Pocklington, UK @ Pocklington Arts Center #
Feb 14 – Montreal, QUE @ Folk Alliance
Feb 15 – Montreal, QUE @ Folk Alliance
Feb 16 – Montreal, QUE @ Folk Alliance
Mar 02 – Jacksonville, FL @ Northeast Florida Veg Fest
Apr 04 – Portland, ME @ One Longfellow Square
Apr 05 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Apr 06 – Turners Falls, MA @ Shea Theater
Apr 07 – Exeter, NH @ The Word Barn
Apr 10 – New Haven, CT @ Cafe Nine
Apr 12 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Caffe Lena
Apr 13 – Hudson, NY @ Club Helsinki
Apr 25 – Charlotte, NC @ Tuck Fest
Apr 26 – Knoxville, TN @ The Open Chord
May 02 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Red Dragon Listening Room
May 10 – Arden, DE @ Arden Concert Guild
May 11 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
May 12 – Charleston, WV @ Mountain Stage
May 15 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
May 18 – Brevard, NC @ Songsmith Gathering
May 29 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
Jun 01 – Santa Monica, CA @ McCabe’s
Jun 05 – Thomas, WV @ Purple Fiddle
Jun 06 – Worthington, OH @ Natalie’s
Jun 07 – Madison, IN @ River Roots Music and Folk Arts
Jul 20 – Jay, VT @ Jeezum Crow Festival
Mean Dog, Trampoline Track List
1 – High Beams
2 – Heart of a Dog
3 – Everything I Like
4 – Stay Too Long
5 – Gods of Sleep
6 – Dreamless Life
7 – Son of Steven
8 – Dandelion Crown
9 – Scattered Notes From a First Time Home Buyer
10 – New York City
11 – What Happened
12 – Old Machine
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