It was actually back in 2011 that we first heard Papercuts. Their excellent album, Fading Parade, was something of an underground hit, perhaps a bit to underground for their label at the time, Sub Pop. Some seven years later we were pleased to discover the band, ostensibly the work of songwriter Jason Quever, are back with a new album. Parallel Universe Blues is by our count their seventh record, and due out next month on Slumberland Records.
The album, Parallel Universe Blues, is a musing on moving, detailing Jason’s move from his native San Francisco, to Los Angeles, a record that reflects on the difficulties of uprooting your life, your friends and your music scene. Papercuts recently shared the first track from the record, Laughing Man, it’s a slice of classic-pop. The sound melding uplifting drums that are surely lifted straight from a Crystals record, and fusing them with vocal tones that are equal parts Grizzly Bear and Beach Boys, before coating the whole thing in a gorgeous reverberating production. A welcome return from a songwriter who has perhaps never previously found the acclaim he so richly deserves, this could just be Papercuts’ moment in the sun.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Papercuts?
Papercuts is the project of me Jason Quever along with various west coast musicians. I’ve lived in San Francisco California for most of the bands output, and currently split time between Los Angeles and San Francisco…
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Being strangely nervous and having consumed a good amount of cheap red wine. I remember laughing for a good portion of it, the whole thing all of a sudden struck me as ludicrous, to sing in front of people.
FTR: What can people expect from the Papercuts live show?
Nothing too flashy, just a sincere attempt to lose oneself in the moment… And hopefully connect with some people. Really I just try to let the songs do the work and not try to posture too much…
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I think it goes to the previous question’s answer, for me. It’s the only thing that I have come across that allows me to lose myself, the conscious, self reflective self, for any sustained period of time. I’m sure other people get that in other fields, but it’s the only one that does that for me. Writing songs is a therapeutic process, and not just in the sense that you’re working through situations, feelings and concepts in a lyrical, consicous way. All that can be true, but what is more exciting to me is the chance to escape my surroundings and do something meditative, but in an active, non-passive way.
FTR: What’s next for Papercuts?
I am excited to play these songs new for people wherever I can, then write some more songs, and repeat the process. That’s a good existence. Hopefully we will make it the the Uk and Europe early in 2019…
They Listen To…
1. Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas
What can I say about such a beautiful song, I listen to it at least once a week. It’s the one song of theirs I feel like maybe I can understand a lot of the lyrics, but I’m not sure. I don’t want to find out that was just in my mind. It has the perfect bridge but it’s not a bridge it happens twice. I want to live inside that world.
2. Beach House – Dive
They just keep beating themselves. This song feels like the culmination of many ideas they’ve been building on. Seeing them end their shows with it on tour was really inspiring. It starts with one of those melodies I really wish I’d written first. The structure is very non-standard and linear, it just builds upon itself, but it still feels immediate and memorable on first listen. Like many great songs, it feels like it’s always existed.
3. Cate Le Bon – I Can’t Help You
Cate Le Bon and this record particular really occupy a singular place in my mind. I would say it was an influence on my new record, in the sense that her tone is so light and fun. A lot of music feels overly intense and “epic”, and ultimately heavy, and more and more I was to get away from that. This record really exemplifies that feeling, it’s charmed and inspiring and it doesn’t hit you over the head with how the narrator is feeling. She can’t help you.
4. Echo and The Bunnymen – Seven Seas
I discovered this band much too late in life, something that I feel upset about. Here in America they were not a huge radio band. So it’s been fun to go through their catalog and find that they have tons of fantastic songs and records. This is the one that pulled me in. “Glad to see my face among them kissing the tortoise shell” feels like a rare life affirming lyric in my rotation. Ok so it is sort of that epic thing I’m talking about avoiding, but instead of laying their problems on you, it’s uplifting.
5. Velvet Underground – I Can’t Stand It
I always go back to the this band. I had forgotten about this record (VU) because it’s more of a rarities collection, but really it’s as strong as any of their proper albums. “I Can’t Stand It” had always captured my imagination as a 60’s sounding garage style band playing in a hall to a bunch of people dancing away. Thinking on it now, its probably dry studio recording with an 80’s mix, gated reverb on the drums and all, but it still has that incredible live feel that they were the masters of. Lou Reed was great at both complex lyricism and caveman esque simplicity. This main lyric leans towards the latter, but really what could be a more perfect refrain for such a chorus.
Parallel Universe Blues is out October 19th via Slumberland Records. Click HERE for more information on Papercuts.