Diamonds and Clay, the 5th studio album from San Francisco rock band New Monsoon, will be released digitally and on CD May 9th, 2014. The album features 10 original tracks that capture the sophisticated songwriting, soulful instrumental interplay, lush harmony vocals and soaring energy that have become New Monsoon’s trademark.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2013, recording for Diamonds and Clay began at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios in San Rafael, CA. This state-of-the-art environment enabled the band to play the songs together, giving the record a live feel. With the foundation for each song in place, they went on to Charlie Wilson’s Sonic Zen Records in Berkeley, CA to record additional tracks including lead and harmony vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, and various keyboard parts. The end result is a deeply textured sonic experience marrying the band’s raw energy with the sensitivity and craft that is afforded in the recording studio environment.
Diamonds and Clay affirms New Monsoon as torchbearers for rock & roll with something substantive to say about the human condition. Made of sturdy muscle & heart, they stretch rock in the same winning ways as Traffic and Little Feat, where great skill, undisguised passion, and well-weathered soul combine for nourishment for folks who seek music that’s more than mere entertainment.
– Dennis Cook (Dirty Impound/JamBase)
New Monsoon was established in the late 90s by Bo Carper (acoustic guitar, banjo, vocals) and Jeff Miller (electric guitar, vocals) in coastal Bolinas, CA. They formed a band that began touring nationally in 2003 and through the years have experienced many different incarnations in personnel and sound. This album showcases how they have matured and filtered these experiences through their music. From the energetic opener Light of Day, to the poetic world-influenced closer Cloud, listeners are taken on a musical journey reminiscent of the thematic albums the band grew up on. Longtime band member Phil Ferlino contributes his keyboard versatility throughout the album including a notable vocal spotlight on Positive Days. The rhythm section of Marshall Harrell (electric bass) and Michael Pinkham (drums) is the driving force that lays down rock-solid grooves that define the character of each song. Overall the album has a flow to it that creates a sense of anticipation as you listen. There are so many surprises from this quintet that you get the feeling they are just beginning to tap into the power of their collaborative potential.
In support of the new album New Monsoon will be hosting their 2-day music festival GARYFEST 2 May 9th and 10th at the Last Concert Café in Houston, Texas, with special guests Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth) and Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz (ALO, Jack Johnson) as well as their original three-headed percussion crew Rajiv Parikh (tabla drums) Brian Carey (congas and timbales) and Marty Ylitalo (drum kit). The band will also be celebrating the release of Diamonds and Clay at the Brick and Mortar Music Hall May 16th where they will be headlining the Belize Barrier Reef Benefit.