Slowcore greats Spain, the project helmed by Josh Haden, will release World Of Blue, which will be out September 30 via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise. If the album title recalls Spain's classic 1995 debut, The Blue Moods of Spain, that is intentional, as it features tracks from their 1994 sessions at legendary/infamous L.A. studio Poop Alley -- which would lead to Spain recording their debut -- that have been re-mixed and re-imagined by producer and Shimmy-Disc founder Kramer in 2021 at his Noise Miami Studio.

"Back in those days, my sisters Rachel and Petra Haden were in a band called That Dog," Josh says in liner notes from World of Blue. "They had a strong following in L.A. and were getting ready to sign to a major label. When I first started Spain, they were a big inspiration to me. It was an exciting time for music in L.A. Beck and Weezer were just starting out, and this mad scientist/producer named Tom Grimley was recording all the best bands in his converted auto repair shop studio called Poop Alley Studios."

Josh continues, "I paid for the session with weed I grew in my closet. We set up and it starting raining. Tom put a microphone outside. For lunch, we’d walk through the alley over to India Sweets and Spices, on Fairfax just north of Pico. After tracking was finished, Petra came over and overdubbed violin. There was a cushioned area where I remember sitting during mixdown. There were little stacks of Aphex 16-track tape everywhere."

We've got the premiere of World of Blue's title track which, like the other four tracks, features Josh's sister, Petra Haden, on violin. "'World of Blue' was the end result of much experimentation with slow tempo drones in different keys," says Haden. "There are several previous prototypes for this song under different titles. We stuck with this one because it worked the best and provided the most suitable canvas for Petra’s beautiful violin work. The song’s supposed to convey a sense of a world in sadness, which I was feeling personally at the time and translates well for our current era."

Listen to that and read Josh's notes of World of Blue below.

The LP World of Blue features Ken Boudakian and Merlo Podlewski on guitars, and Evan Hartzell on drums. Evan and I attended the same high school, and Ken was my college roommate. Merlo was the final piece of the puzzle. I first met Merlo in 1994. My sister Rachel Haden, who had been working with him at the Rhino Records store in Westwood, knew I was looking for a new guitarist for my band, and introduced us. Merlo is one of those guitarists whose playing is so smooth and effortless he makes anyone feel like they can play. His playing is magical. He had an instinctual grasp of harmony and theory, which brought a great counterpoint to the technical knowledge and finesse of lead guitarist Ken. From our first practice together I knew he was the right addition to the band.

Back in those days, my sisters Rachel and Petra Haden were in a band called That Dog. They had a strong following in L.A. and were getting ready to sign to a major label. When I first started Spain, they were a big inspiration to me. It was an exciting time for music in L.A. Beck and Weezer were just starting out, and this mad scientist/producer named Tom Grimley was recording all the best bands in his converted auto repair shop studio called Poop Alley Studios.

Spain played their first official L.A. gig with Merlo at a club called Pan, which shortly thereafter changed its name to Spaceland. We opened for Beck and That Dog. We played at Spaceland a lot (a performance from which can be found on YouTube) and at other small clubs and coffee joints like the Troy Cafe (owned by Beck’s mom), Congo Square Coffee House in Santa Monica, Alligator Lounge, and others.

At a certain point that year, we were ready to record our first 7” single, and I reserved some time at Poop Alley. Poop Alley didn’t seem like the ideal recording setting. The walls and floors were made of concrete, and there was no soundproofing. The fix-it area was the tracking room. The ceiling was so high there almost wasn’t a ceiling. A steep curving staircase with no guardrail led up to a loft area where the console was located, and next to it, on a custom-built, guardrail-less ledge, a queen-sized bed where Tom slept. Also, it wasn’t a nice neighborhood. Up the street, while walking to my car late one night from the nearby Jabberjaw Coffeehouse, a local drunk begged me not to rob him. That’s how bad it was.

I paid for the session with weed I grew in my closet. We set up and it starting raining. Tom put a microphone outside. For lunch, we’d walk through the alley over to India Sweets and Spices, on Fairfax just north of Pico. After tracking was finished, Petra came over and overdubbed violin. There was a cushioned area where I remember sitting during mixdown. There were little stacks of Aphex 16-track tape everywhere.

We stayed good friends with Tom. We recorded a couple more songs with him the following year. Tom recorded lots of bands at Poop Alley. My sisters’ band That Dog, Beck, the Rentals, Rod Poole, Tom’s band Waldo the Dog Faced Boy, and many others. There were parties in the alley. There would be a keg of beer. Everyone was well-behaved. The most dangerous it got was when Kenny asked Beck if he was a Scientologist. I remember laughter and happiness the most from those parties. Not long afterwards, Tom shut down the studio. Luckily for us, the tapes still exist.

On those tapes are five songs, all of which are represented here. 'I Lied' and 'Her Used-To-Been' were released on the 7”, the remaining three have never been released before now. I can’t remember who I sent copies of the 7” to but shortly after it came out, I got a call from an A&R executive at Geffen inviting me to their offices to talk. 'I love your songs,' I remember him saying to me, 'but my boss [David Geffen] won’t let me sign you because he doesn’t know how to market you.'

Eventually, a label that did want to sign us got in touch with me. Restless Records was a local indie record company that had flirted with major label success with bands like Poison and Stryper. Their office was an old rickety house off Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and they had decent distribution, so I said to myself, 'Why not?'

This eventually lead to the recording that produced our debut LP The Blue Moods of Spain."

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