Slaughter Beach, Dog discusses influences on new LP, shares live video ahead of virtual release shows
Slaughter Beach, Dog (the current project of Modern Baseball's Jake Ewald) surprise-released his very good new album At The Moonbase on Christmas Eve, and he's now gearing up for two virtual release shows this weekend: a solo show on Saturday (2/13) and a full-band show on Sunday (2/14). Both shows start at 9 PM ET, and tickets are on sale.
To get an idea of what to expect, Slaughter Beach, Dog have shared a video of "Fell In Love" from the full-band stream. The song is a Springsteen-y piano ballad from the new record, and Jake and the band sound great playing it. Check it out below.
We also caught up with Jake to discuss some of the music that influenced At The Moonbase, and he picked ten songs, including ones by Karen Dalton, Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Destroyer, The Rolling Stones, Cass McCombs, and more, and gave us background on how each one impacted him. Read on for what Jake had to say...
SONGS THAT INFLUENCED SLAUGHTER BEACH, DOG'S AT THE MOONBASE (by Jake Ewald)
Tom Waits - "Shore Leave"
The sounds on this record are so distinct, it's like with every song I can picture a different dark room in an abandoned warehouse where some fucked up band of genius hobos are tapping on lead pipes with hammers. Bone Machine is like that too. And the arrangement on this one in particular really lifts the lyrics - that's one of my biggest Tom Waits takeaways. He writes these stories that are so sturdy on the page, stories that I would read happily without any music at all, but then he decks them out with these totally idiosyncratic arrangements, and suddenly those stories turn into these huge throbbing, oozy planets. Bone Machine, Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, Small Change, Nighthawks... that was my rotation last year. Those are records I could listen to every day and still find something new.
Nathan Salsburg - "Impossible Air"
Last winter, on the last tour we did before the world caved in, I spent a lot of green room time trying to learn Nathan Salsburg songs. I gravitated to his playing because he incorporates these clear, strong melodies. And he strikes these really romantic chords sometimes... He does a great job of lacing together these sturdy traditional progressions with more emotional/vulnerable passages. He's fucked up.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "More News from Nowhere"
As I started writing more talking songs I realized I didn't have many touchstones for how to do that sort of thing reliably, how to do it multiple times on a record and not have it feel like a gimmick. There were a few Bad Seeds records that were really inspiring there, mainly Skeleton Tree, Push The Sky Away, and Dig Lazarus. Nick Cave has amazing range within the confines of a rock band. The musical distance is so huge between a song like this one and a song like "Jesus Alone," but they're both performed by the same band and they both revolve around a well-read story. Digging into the Cave + Seeds catalog and hearing those vast differences was really motivating.
The Rolling Stones - "Tumbling Dice"
I was totally indifferent to the Stones until I heard Exile, at which point I fell head over heels. I get rock and roll butterflies when I hear it. At this point they really were just a full-time ass-kicking blues band. It's useless to try and describe it. That break when Charlie drops out and the background singers come in? Forget about it.
Sarah Webster Fabio - "The Hand That Rocks"
Another big vocal inspiration. Sarah Fabio's delivery is so measured and sharp and emotive that you almost stop noticing how perfect the band is. She commands your attention.
Destroyer - "Bay of Pigs (Detail)"
I'd say this one speaks for itself.
Lucinda Williams - "Fruits Of My Labor"
First of all, in terms of words-melody-arrangement, it's a perfect song. It's essentially a standard. I'd go as far as to call it timeless - at the very least, it sounds like it could have been written in 1951. Which is even more impressive when you consider that it was written in the least-timeless time of all (2003). In terms of the actual performance, Lucinda Williams' singing here is heartbreaking. It's like her heart is breaking and being born again at the same time. She's another one of those people that has such an inspiring tonal range, thinking about how raw and unfussy she is on "Car Wheels" compared to how crushingly beautiful she sounds here. She always knows what the song needs.
Cass McCombs - "Laughter Is The Best Medicine"
Cass's records are so heady and well-produced that it took me a long time to realize, underneath all the great playing and production, he is funny. That's when I really fell in love. I love songwriters who have a friendly sense of humor - John Prine and Townes Van Zandt are big ones, Tom T. Hall too. They don't hit you over the head with an idea, and they don't try to trick you or trip you up. Cass has that friendly humor in his writing, but he also has this incredibly vast musical palate. It's hard to find records like that, at least for me. Finding music that takes itself seriously without taking itself too seriously. Cass is a role model in that department.
Karen Dalton - "Something On Your Mind"
The pacing of this song is brilliant. That was a big takeaway for me. It suits Karen's delivery so well. She has so much space to work with, so you can really latch onto all the little idiosyncrasies in her voice, and the band is gently pulling you forward all the while. It's beautiful, and it feels effortless.
Michael Hurley - "Sweedeedee"
In the right moment, this one hits like a freight train. Couldn't say why. It stayed with me all year.
Get tickets to Slaughter Beach, Dog's virtual concerts here. Stream At The Moonbase below.