Nyles Lannon (formerly N. Lannon) returns in March 2019 with The Clouds and the Sea, his first release since 2015’s Falling Inside. The EP is a sparkling collection of introspective psych-pop and starts an exciting new chapter in Lannon’s musical evolution. Drawing on his work as guitarist in shoegaze band Film School, the songs are bathed in a layer of dreamy atmosphere but maintain a focused clarity and melodic flare that has become Lannon’s staple.
The first single from the EP, the hook-laden pop song “Love Again” was featured in the NBC show New Amsterdam and aired on January 15th.
Moving away from the singer/songwriter bedroom style of his previous releases to a more band-focused, open rock sound, the The Clouds and the Sea is a taste of what is to come with Lannon’s music: a melding of 80’s New Wave, acoustic pop and modern chillwave, channelling The Police and Fleetwood Mac but layered with synths and washy guitar. Lannon’s heart-felt lyrics pair nicely with the sounds of his seasoned band, a group he has had in place since touring for his last album, and it shows right from the start – with the Motown-style drumming of Jon Langmead, driving bass by Michael Rivo, high harmonies/synths by Nichole Kreglow and bold lead guitar by Chad Bredehoft all shining on the title track.
The production has been a family affair. Lannon recorded the EP at his home studio in San Rafael, CA, with the help of his bandmates and his 10 year old son, Skye, often manning the controls. His friend Count (Tycho, DJ Shadow) mixed and mastered, and his pals Alex Kemp (Poolside/Rhye, ESX) and Halou chimed in with remixes. Rogue Wave drummer Pat Spurgeon, who Lannon met while touring as the band’s keyboard player, provided a drum track for the cover of Missing Persons’ “Destination Unknown”. Friend/poet Julie Butler provided lyrics for the title track, and friend/photographer Laura Plageman the cover. The Clouds and the Sea is coming out on the same label that released Lannon’s three other solo albums starting with Chemical Friends in 2004 – Badman Recording Co. Lastly, movie director and friend Jonathan Caouette (maker of the cult-favorite Tarnation) is producing a series of videos.
His work with director Jonathan Caouette has evolved into a continuous collaboration. Caouette’s psychedelic-collage approach has influenced Lannon’s writing, and vice versa. Videos and songs have multiple versions and remixes, with different meanings in different contexts; the results are a fascinating display of two artists riffing off each other. The first video “Hiding” will be released with the EP, which will followed by many more.
Feeling the love and camaraderie of making music together is important to Lannon.
“Music has been such an important part of my life these last few years, it’s my solace. I’m so grateful to have creative friends around me contributing to my vision,” Lannon reveals.
“Lannon’s ambient experiences run throughout “Dreamer”, an energetic, psychedelic stomper. As Lannon whispers “I’m just a dreamer” during the songs hazy bridge, it feels like a culmination of the tension between the percussive rhythms and ethereal textures, augmenting each other to form something as direct as it is hypnotic.” – KEXP Podcast Song of the Day