Sunday, July 17, 2005

So... When's the Next Album?: Mazarin

We’ve all wondered. It’s been more than two years and you’re starting to get antsy. You haven’t heard much about your favorite band in that time. Have they broken up? Are they still on the label? What’s going on?!?!

Well, let’s try to find out.

Let’s start with Mazarin. Oh, don’t know who Mazarin is?

Mazarin has put out two great records, 1999’s Watch It Happen and 2001’s A Tall-Tale Storyline. With Mazarin, you not only get great rock songs like “Chasing the Girl” and "Wheats," but also the stripped-down solo musician thing from frontman Quentin Stolzfus on songs like “Watch It Happen” and “Henry Darger.” They can produce great jangly pop like "What Sees the Sky?" and “Suicide Will Make You Happy” (not as depressing as it sounds) or kick some ass on tracks like "My Favorite Green Hill" and “Deed to Drugs," which features some of my favorite lyrics as the chorus; "and I can't write another letter to myself, and I can't write another letter to the girl who broke my heart, 'cause I won't send them anyway... I'll only box them up and read them again some day and break my heart again." So fucking good.

And where have they been?!

I’ve searched for them on the internet again and again, but there’s no official band page, and they aren’t on a label. So I have been absolutely starved for updates.

In 2002 I saw them in concert, opening for Beulah at the Troubadour. It was an amazing set, and afterwards, Boone and I caught the bassist outside having a smoke and chatted him up. He said that it looked like they were going to sign with Sub Pop Records, and indeed a two song single, on vinyl only, was a part of Sub Pop’s Single of the Month club. But about a year ago when I asked a Sub Pop publicity person about whether there was a Mazarin album in the wings, her response was “I know nothing about Mazarin, unfortunately.” So it looks like that deal wasn’t a lasting one.

And then one day I was on the indie rock godsend that is the file-sharing program of SoulSeek, searching for Mazarin. I’d found two concerts and was looking for more. I came across a folder full of song titles I didn’t recognize and started downloading, assuming it’d probably be another band with the same name (which had been the case before). The guy PMed me and said “Do you know what that is? Those are the new Mazarin songs.” It turns out that it was the bassist I’d spoken with outside the Troubadour a few years before. I gathered that these five songs (including the Strokes-y rock song "Energy," the politcal lament that is "Apathy" and the old time pop of "And Another One Goes By") were intended for a new EP, but there didn’t seem to be a release date yet.

And so we come to the present, when I’ve been listening to those five songs over and over again on my iPod and have been waiting for an official release, and I decided that it was time to start doing some heavy duty investigating. I started to compose an e-mail to Sean Byrne, frontman of the Twin Atlas, a great band very much in the same ballpark as Mazarin. Byrne, like Stolzfus, was part of the Philadelphia music scene and had helped produce the Mazarin albums. But before I had even finished the e-mail, it occurred to me to do a Google search not just for Mazarin as usual, but including the new song titles as well. I typed in “Mazarin Apathy” and started to get back returns “Mazarin New American Apathy CD" listed among promo lists. A mini review. Etc.

I freaked out and started clicking links. Found an article on Howlin’ Wuelf Media that started “We're Already There is Mazarin’s label debut for I And Ear Records. This is the third full-length release from the Philadelphia based outfit…” Did a search for “I & Ear Media” and indeed found their site with the press release…

After nearly two and a half years, Mazarin have finally resurfaced, bringing with them their most climactic record to date; We’re Already There. Quentin Stolzfus put the record together in Philadelphia, with Sean Byrne, Brian McTear, and Mike Walker. Guests Kurt Heasley (Lilys), Don Devore (Icarus Line) and Walt Martin (The Walkmen) fill out the lineup.

Seconds later, I was in contact with Boone… “BOONE! YOU HAVE TO CONTACT THE LABEL! I MUST HAVE THAT CD!”

And thus, We’re Already There is on its way for review, with the July 26th release date looming. And guess what, Mazarin even has their own webpage now at! If you visit there, you can hear some of the songs from the new record!

I’m so happy!!!


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