Detroit indie musician Jonathan Franco’s upcoming debut album Swimming Alone Around The Room has been a long time in the making. For four years he worked on these songs, even at one point scrapping his previous recordings and starting over. Today we have a great example of the meticulous nature of his work with the premiere of “Wine Lips.” The songs is a well-calibrated mix between lo-fi bedroom music and chilled out indie rock, with spoken word vocals that eventually give way to a bit of melody, a technique that has seen some popularity in the indie world with artists like The Hold Steady and Dismemberment Plan.
Franco counts some of the brightest stars of the indie world as influences, including Mount Eerie and Sparklehorse. However, he is equally inspired by acts like Jim O’Rourke and Haruomi Hosono, adding just enough experimentation to set his music apart from a crowded field of like-minded artists.
He explains that this song in particularly is fairly old, taking a long while to morph into what you hear today. “I had the main repeating guitar part for this song for over a year or so before I figured out how to turn it into a full song,” said Franco about the track. “I have a hard drive full of rejected versions that didn’t work, but I kept coming back to it for some reason.”
“It wasn’t until I started messing around with this little circuit bent Casio keyboard I bought from this guy on Craigslist that something clicked and it felt like a finished song. He was selling a bunch of old cheap synths and kids toys that he had circuit bent and added all of these weird unlabeled knobs and switches to that would change the sound. I bought a couple of keyboards from him for like $20. They’re totally unusable live because of how unpredictable they are, but they’re great to mess around with while recording. After that, the final track kind of turned into a collage of the different versions. There’s stuff in there from the very first takes and stuff that was added during mixing.”
Franco will be self-releasing the album. It’s available on November 9, 2018.
Swimming Alone Around The Room track list
1. Apartment Pianos
2. A Topiary
3. The Fleeting Fame Of No Hit Pitchers
4. Wine Lips
8. Brass, Wire
9. Traveling Music
12. Transition Lens
16. The Spring Is Flooding My House