Jeff Angell’s STATICLAND will release its self-titled debut album May 6th on UDR, a captivating menagerie of songs that effortlessly shift from raucous, snarling, barn burners to moving Stones-inspired ballads that you will want to play on repeat. Produced By Grammy award winner Vance Powell (Jack White, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs, Seasick Steve), the sound is that of a provocative, imaginative blues rock which breaths new life into the genre both sonically and stylistically.
“My youth was in the distance, but it was catching up with me.” (The Edge) Angell's first exposure to music came from his mother's car stereo as well as an unlikely mentor.
"Being a single mother of two, my mother didn't always have the best of suitors," says Angell. "At one point she dated an Elvis impersonator who was kind enough to hand me down a 45 of Heartbreak Hotel. That song with its blues 101 progression and its vivid tale of a desolate place down at the end of lonely street, really affected me. Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy was another one. I think the influence those songs had on me was equally as important as witnessing the Seattle bands discover themselves while I was a teen growing up in Seattle."
At the turn of the century Angell threw himself into the Seattle music scene as the lead singer and principal songwriter in the unapologetic, swaggering Post Stardom Depression. They released an E.P. on Will Records (Sexual Uno 2000), languished three years in major label limbo, and then released two records on The Control Group. (Ordinary Miracles 2003, Prime Time Looks A Lot Like Amateur Night, 2005) The band was a favorite to many who appreciated their explosive, sexually charged, Rock and Roll.
Post Stardom Depression toured with the late Dee Dee Ramone, Queens Of the Stone Age, Nebula and the Bell Rays. to name a few. One too many nights sleeping in a van along with the excesses of youth led to the band's premature demise.
Angell rose from the wreck that was Post Stardom Depression and began performing with keyboardist Benjamin Anderson, drummer Michael Alex, and saxophonist Gregor Lothian as The Missionary Position. Together they released two albums (Diamonds In A Dead Sky 2009, Consequences 2012) and succeeded in defining a sound undeniably their own.
The Missionary Position created a compelling blend of dirty post punk blues-rock with ambient undertones and introspective lyrics that invited comparisons to artists as diverse as The Doors, Townes Van Zandt, Morphine and the Gun Club. They performed constantly on the road and around the Pacific Northwest, preferring to play all-nighters rather than your typical four-band bill. This extra stage time proved invaluable in their musical development.
By this time Angell was well established in Seattle as a one-of-a-kind front man who produced consistent, quality work. A few of Seattle's more famous artists recognized Angell’s talent and came together to support his compositions with hopes of introducing him to a larger audience.
Walking Papers boasted the rhythm section of Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season) and Duff McKagan (Guns N Roses) along with keyboards provided by Benjamin Anderson, and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready gave his blessing by contributing a few blistering guitar solos to the group's effort.
Their debut was labeled, “a masterpiece of mood and tension” by Classic Rock Magazine and “a classic cocktail of dark, malevolent blues” by Rolling Stone. With its release in 2012, Angell finally graduated from the van tours he had endured for over a decade in North America to touring internationally, first in clubs, then festivals, and finally arriving in arenas supporting heavyweights Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, Biffy Clyro, and Aerosmith.
Walking Papers recorded an eagerly awaited second album in 2014-2015, but due to McKagan's return to Guns n Roses, its release has been put on hold for now.
"Let's leave the past where it belongs." (Everything is Wrong)
With an unexpected, indefinite hole in their schedule, Angell, along with key collaborator Benjamin Anderson, were offered the opportunity by UDR to expand on the sound they had defined in their previous bands. They recruited Post Stardom Depression drummer Joshua Fant, entered a rehearsal room in Seattle and started, as Angell calls it, "putting in the time."
The songs came together quickly, and before they knew it, they had conceived a thrilling batch of new material that succeed in capturing the spontaneity and excitement of people who are passionate about making music and that have the experience to do it well.
The songs swing and shuffle savagely. They are dynamic and diverse, and while each stands as an achievement on its own. Together they provide an ever-changing escape into a variety of audio environments, with Angell's narrative and vivid imagery lighting the way.
"While we were writing the songs for this record I was having some strange dreams.” Angell remembers. “I usually write narratively or autobiographically. There is still plenty of that in this record, but I also wanted to bring some of what I remember from those dreams into the songs as well."
Angell’s voice can best be described as lived in. It is smokey, versatile and articulate but most importantly, believable. With it he tells the stories of colorful characters, contemplates relationships, and shares dreamy imagery, all the while spurring the listener to expand on the limits we allow ourselves to go.
"If there is one consistent theme I kept coming across, it was, let's leave the past where it belongs." Angell says.
"Band names are a lot like cops: There's never one around when you need one," Angell jokes. "We had a great album and we were in need of a name. We wanted something that sounded like a place, a novel or a television series. We started throwing things together that fit that criteria, and we arrived at STATICLAND. Maybe it's a place where things don't change and these songs are our plan of escape."
"I like to think of this record as taking an obstacle and turning it to an opportunity. It's an invitation to roll the dice