In December, as part of a cover story on his record label returning to New Orleans after three years in Philadelphia, Chris Watson told The Gambit, The next step, to me, along with signing more national or international acts, you got to have some New Orleans bands on Park the Van. This week Watson and Co. nabbed their first: Generationals, a new group centered around singers and songwriters Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner, former guitarists in the Baton Rouge band the Eames Era.
Their debut Con Law, set for a July release on Park the Van, is already in the can and is streaming in its entirety on the bands Web site. Its 10 tracks, most of them near-perfect, three-minute throwback pop gems, waste no strokes in bearing a boatload of guitar, synth, horn and vocal hooks. The strong show of Brill Building revivalism from sepia tone to Casiotone takes flight in the kind of catchy yet off-kilter melodies that have become a PTV calling card. (Prepare for the inevitable commercialization of centerpiece single When They Fight, They Fight, a breezy, almost maniacally bright, summer's-coming anthem that could soundtrack a '50s dance party, an indie film's closing credits or a too-cute advertisement for Gerber baby food. Fans of Jens Lekman and Camera Obscura rejoice!)
Stream: "When They Fight, They Fight" by Generationals
The signing stemmed from a chance meeting in January at which the band pretty much picked up Watson in a bar. Ted and I had read the article in Gambit, and I ran into him at [the Mid-City Yacht Club] and told him we had some common friends, says Widmer, a pal of PTV artists the Spinto Band and the Teeth. We had just gotten back the master copy for Con Law, and I gave him one.
That kind of courting has become commonplace since PTVs return, Watson says. Hes received several dozen demos from local bands, many in casual encounters over a beer: (Its) to the point where, at the Circle Bar (Holiday Soiree in December), people were showing up just to give me records.
Its cool we signed a New Orleans band, but if they werent from New Orleans, we still would have signed them," he adds. "(The record) is easily one of the best things weve heard all year.
Park the Van hosts a listening party for Life in the Air, the March debut from Shreveport sextet the Peekers, at 9 p.m. tomorrow night at the Saint (961 St. Mary St.).