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What's up, homies!
September 30th, 2013
Happy Autumn!
Well, hello, everyone! Things are cruising along here in Johnnyworld. The summer saw a flurry of activity with multiple records and traveling and other hi jinx!

I started the summer working with a great Belgium artist who goes by the moniker, Admiral Freebee. Tom Van Laere, his actual name is a wonderful dude with a great sense of humor and loads of talent. He came here armed with his acoustic guitar and his electric guitarist, Tim and we put a slamming band behind him.

Our killer rhythm section consisted of good friends, Steve Shelley and Jeff Bailey, from Sonic Youth and Phosphorescent. With able contributions from Alex Lipsen (keys), Okkervil River's Mike St. Claire(Horns) , Heather McIntosh (Strings), Mary Lattimore (harp) and some shredding by J Mascis, it was a great record and so much fun to make. The record came out really great and I hope some day we can figure out how to release it here. I also got to work at Water Music Recorders for the first time since Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc over the west side of Hoboken. It was great to be back there.

Finishing Tom's record left me with a day to celebrate daughter Sara's 25th birthday and then I left for 3 weeks of European work/fun. Mostly work. Visiting my good friend, Paco Loco and working at his studio is always a great time. Add The Hazey Janes into the mix and it was a great time. I love these kids. It's my third record with them and they are so talented, it hurts. Upon finishing that record, I busted a move up to Madrid for two days of fun and then further north to Norway to help the wonderful Dyveke cut basic tracks for her next record. Norway was a blur of different towns and studios. We worked in Moss and in Halden and then had an Oslo day where I surprised the Phosphorescent guys backstage after their set.

I returned home to take one day off and then proceed to mix a record for the The Everymen at Fluxivity Studios. Great friends, great band! I love these guys. They are my favorite new band and they've been kicking out the jams a bunch live. The new record is excellent and like any successful artist, they have really stepped their game up after the first record, which I really like also. Anyway, keep an eye on them.

Returning to Water Music Recorders, I immediately dove into a record with a band from the north of Spain, called "Audience". A wonderful group of guys, we had a great 2 weeks of recording. Stylistically, almost country ish or at least a bit Americana, they had some cool songs and it was fun working with them. They also prepared lunch everyday and every meal was a classic.

Post Labor Day found me mixing a few songs for the Portland band, City Pools. Very cool songs and very powerful. They'll be more to talk about them later, as I am going to be working with the more in the future. And very excited about it!

Continuing my mixing frenzy at Fluxivity Studios, I then spent two and a half weeks with Andy and Robert from Manchester Orchestra mixing their new record. Which I can warn the world is amazing. It was kind of like an episode of 2 and 1/2 Men. I would be considered the half. We had so much fun mixing the record and I gotta tell you, they are two of my favorite people in the world. The record is massive. Great hooks and great melodies and a wall of sound that will knock you off your barstool. You'll see.

And now, I'm mid mix working with a great English band called, Blood Red Shoes. The record is great. They are primal, they make a racket and write great songs. More to come on this one.

That's it for now, but I mean, isn't that enough? Good night and good luck.

 
Happy Summer!
June 12th, 2013
Open Letter to The NSA!
Happy Summer everyone. After a deluge or two, I'm looking forward to the weather to get all summery in this mofo! HUH?

Anyway, I'm sitting here mixing at Fluxivity Studios in Williamsburg and what better way to endure printing stems than by updating the website.

I'm mixing a super cool record by two artists who are awesome in their own rite. One's a great dude from a cool band and one's a woman who has a great voice and I have been a fan of for awhile. Not sure I can talk about it, so for now I'll keep you guessing.

Last week, I got the great news that Okkervil River, whom I worked with in the spring are releasing their record in early September. I cannot be more psyched. Without bias, I can say that this is one of my coolest records I've worked on in a long time. Tracked in Austin at Church House Studios, it was a super collaborative effort. We had such a great time recording down there and during the process I met the love of my life. Her name is Negroni. Actually, it's just my favorite drink.

So, the songs are great. We did some fun arrangements. Lotsa cool instrumentation. Will sang the shit out of every song. Some awesome guest musicians. And then we mixed the hell out of it at Fluxivity Studios. Mastered by the great Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, this record is awesome. Come September 3rd, "The Silver Gymnasium" will be unleashed. I cannot wait for you all to hear it. Or see it. Or smell it.

Before I started the Okkervil River record, I spent ten days in January mixing a band from Montreal, called Your Favorite Enemies record. This guys are a cross between Sonic Youth and The Mars Volta. Total raging record. And they are some of the nicest people you'd want to spend 10 days with in a room with no windows.

The press has been very kind to me lately. I had a cool sidebar interview about Phosphorescent in the April issue of Uncut. That was really neat. Did a couple of Kurt related interviews, one for Spin. Had a blast at the Red Bull Academy being interviewed about my checkered career. It's been a great time, with all the cool records that have come out this year. It seems like I've been at a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom once every two weeks to see a band I've worked with. The Bowery peeps know me by name now. The benefits of being the oldest guy in the room!

Anyway, no relief in sight for me. Finish current project. Quick vacation with the family and then it's back to work. Next up is an awesome European artist called Admiral Freebee. A great songwriter who is embodies everything I love in the acoustic realm. He's coming to Hoboken to make his record at Water Music Recorders. This will be my first visit back since the Hurricane Sandy flood. I'm looking forward to it. I miss that place. And I've assembled a killer band comprised of members of Sonic Youth, Phosphorescent, Okkervil River, The Jealous Girlfriends and others. In the vein of Kurt Vile but a bit more country and folky. It's gonna be good.

On a personal note, the Mets still suck, people in my neighborhood still drive like shit and I still don't drink beer.

Have a great summer.

Love, John!

 
Beyond 2013 and Beyond!
January 26th, 2013
Wassup!
Welcome to 2013 everyone! Can't say I'm sorry to see the last half of 2012 wave goodbye. Especially with that Sandy character bumming everyone's high around these parts.

But we move forward, right?

Anyway, saying hello to you all and let you know there is exciting things coming in spring 2013!

But first, congrats on Free Energy releasing their second record, a wonderful piece of work called "Love Sign" It was a blast working with them and these guys are so fun and talented, the lovesign points to "Awesome." They are touring the record right now so check them out somewhere in America!

With that done, Spring will bring an end to a Winter to dismember! It's freezing here in the Northeast. Spring will bring rebirth, renewal and some awesome records I did last year.

In the latter half of last summer, I had the pleasure of working on the new Phosphorescent record. I was a fan going in, having liked the last record record and having seen them live a few time. Well, expectations exceeded! This new record, "Muchacho" is wonderful and Matthew Houck is one of the most talented, awesome and righteous dudes I've ever met. Release date is March 19th on Dead Oceans.

An artist I've been working with since the late '90's, Jay Farrar, will be releasing a new Son Volt record on Rounder, March 13th. The album is aptly titled, "Honky Tonk" It is a great record with a real country vibe to it, chock full of great Jay songs. There's no pseudo, "Man I Feel Like A Woman" country bullshit on this record. It is straight up honky tonk with fiddles and lap steels and some more great Jay singing. Every time this record pops on in my house, it blows my mind how Jay continues to put out records that are great and different from each other.

So, early last October I started a record with a band called The Thermals. We were working at Water Music Recorders in Hoboken. It was so great making an immediate, rocking record that had "to the point" songs. No filler at all. Ten songs about post apocalyptic times and survival and love's endurance. Although the 4 of us had never met before, it was love at first sight when we started working together.

Things were going great when, Sean, the studio engineer mentioned to me about this weather event coming the next week. Some Hurricane Sandy. Well, knowing that Hurricane Irene was not so kind to Hoboken, I informed the band we were going to burn the midnight oil to finish the record before the hurricane hit, which was about 4 days early. And that they were going to stay with me and family in Jersey City.

Well, the rest is history. We got out of there early Monday morning. Hurricane Sandy bitchslapped Hoboken and other parts of the New York and New Jersey area. It was terrible. So many people lost so much, I was thankful to have all my favorite people close by and safe. The band stayed with us 5 days and when we dropped them off at the airport, it was like sending my kids away to college. Except I like The Thermals. hahahaha, joke.

So the record rules and I have an intense personal connection with it and the band. "Our Love Survives" ends the record and that how I feel about them. The record comes out mid April on a label I'm not allowed to mention right now but you will love it and them.

And then there's Kurt Vile. The Vile, the myth, the legend and did I mention, the Vile! We started making a record, on and off last May. Woodstock, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Manhattan. The record is epic in it's tapestry. "Smoke Rings" was such a cool record and so well received, there's always pressure doing the follow up.

Well, Kurt brought something special to the tables starting with the songs. Sprawling, beautiful and powerful. And those are the b sides! hahahahaha. I can't wait for it to be released. It's going to freak out current fans and convert the heathen who doubt!

So more details later on that, but you heard it from me. That record is special!

To leave this continent for another, right before working with Phosphorescent, I had the pleasure of mixing a record for a French singer named Pamela Hute. She is the owner of a big, beautiful voice and she writes some wonderful songs. She is the queen of the pop hook and excels at synth pop and jangle, guitar rock. The album is called Bandit and it will steal your heart. Or your wallet.

At this time there is no American release, but I do hope it sees the light of day here. It's too good not to. I believe it's a March release there and believe me, I'm ordering a couple!

Okay, I think that covers it.

Things to do while printing mix stems, number 54. Update website!

Thanks all!

John
 
Goodbye Summer!
August 18th, 2011
Hello Cymbals Eat Guitars and Male Bonding!
I can't believe the summer is practically over. I spent most of the month either in Sweden or in Brooklyn working with the great Norwegian band, Dirt Inc. Goteborg was a wonderful place to record. SGS, owned by my buddy, Kalle is one of my favorite studios in the world. And Kalle is one in a million.

We finish mixing this current EP on Friday and after going to see The War On Drugs that same night, I will prepare to leave on vacation Saturday. So I'll have spent all of one day in August at home. Living the dream!

The end of August will bring the release of not one, but two of my productions. In chronological order, the new Male Bonding record was recorded at Dreamland Studios in early March and mixed at Headgear Studios soon after that. Dreamland Studios is an old converted church outside of Woodstock that has wonderful vibe, gear and setting.

The Male Bonding guys were wonderful to work with. They are part English gentlemen and part power punk revivalists. I'm really psyched with the record and they will be here the end of the month to start touring.

Right after Male Bonding was complete, I started a record with Cymbals Eat Guitars. These guys are so talented, it makes me nuts. We actually had been doing pre production on and off for months previous to starting the recording, so we hit the ground rolling.

I'm so proud of the record and they too will be touring in support. Too bad they couldn't arrange a co bill.

So keep your ears and eyes peeled for these records. Male Bonding's "Endless Now" is on Sub Pop and Cymbals Eat Guitars' "Lenses Alien" is on Barsuk.

Some other notable info. In July I mixed Lee Ranaldo's solo record. What a fun time! I haven't worked with him since "The Eternal" and we had a blast. The record is his first solo record ever and it's great. Can't wait for that one to see the light of day.

And I did a great single with Philadelphia's Free Energy. What a great group of dudes! We had tons of fun and the two songs came out great.

In the middle of July, I flew to Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival. It was a great time and I got to spend a bunch of time with my main man, Kurt Vile. His set on Sunday afternoon was awesome and he had the mid afternoon crowd totally psyched. He also played a "secret" show Saturday night that was ridiculously crowded, but also awesome.

The current record, "Smoke Ring For My Halo" is doing great and Kurt and the Violators are touring like demons.

Ciao for now.

Enjoy the rest of summer.



 
Spring Is Coming In With A Bang!
March 11th, 2011
Loads Of Things Going On In Agnelloworld.
Hey everyone, I hope 2011 has been good for you so far. I wanted to keep you all in the loop, because my shit is blowing up, figuratively, of course. If it was literally, I'd be at the hospital as opposed to updating my website.

Anyway, there is a ton of stuff to talk about. First, this last Tuesday saw the release of Kurt Vile's "Smoke Rings For My Halo," his new effort for Matador Records. Kurt and the band spent the entire day playing three instores and then playing up at WFMU, in my neck of the woods. The reviews have been exceptional. Pitchfork gave it 8.4 out of 10. Uncut gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Spin gave it 9 out of 10 stars. And the wonderful Charles Aaron said some nice things about yours truly.

The bottom line is this is a great record and Kurt has evolved into one hell of an artist. And the Violaters are a great band. Chris and everybody at Matador were wonderful and all the studios we frequented on the record, and there were many, treated us great. It wasn't the easiest record to make logistically, but it was worth all the effort.

Kurt is supporting my old friend J Mascis on tour, who is also releasing an album. His first solo acoustic studio record. It's a great record with a bunch of great songs and of course J shreds! It has some great guest stars and I loved mixing it at Bisquiteen Studios. I've been working with J since 1993 and it's hard to believe it's been that long. He's one of my favorite people in the world. His wife, Luisa is an angel for putting up with him.

Let's see, what else........

Okay, in honor of all my friends who are going to SXSW, I'd like to hip you to two unsigned bands that I have worked with who will be playing numerous shows down there.

First up is Shayna and the Catch, who are a wonderful, organic pop band who play great songs that are influenced by folk, calypso and other styles of popular music. And Shayna, the lead singer is a wonderful woman with a big voice and a big soul. Not shitting you. Check em out down in Austin. And when they return to NY, they are doing a residence at the Living Room in April/May.

Second is a great band from Boston called Mean Creek. Powerful rock with a great singer in Chris Keene. These guys have a great sound with double guitar, and the wonderful Aurore on lead guitar and backing vocals. They recently released a great EP and played a release party show at Pianos in the LES of Manhattan. They packed out the room in Pianos and killed it. Their super fan, Adam Duritz was in the house.

One other band to check out down there is the Spanish band, Capsula. They are a hard rocking three piece from the northern part of the country and if you like your riffs heavy and your songs psychedelic, this is for you! I saw them in Cadiz 2 years ago and I fell in love with them.

So all you peeps down in Austin, try to take some time to see either of these bands. You will not regret it!

December saw me hunker down with my main engineer man, Ted Young at the famed Magic Shop, in NYC to work with The Young Presidents, a cool new band. We had a blast making the record and it came out great. They will be playing around the city and expect to hear more from them.

I am currently working with Male Bonding, a great three piece from London who are on Sub Pop. We tracked the record up at Dreamland Studios in West Hurley, NY, which neighbors Woodstock. An old church with loads of vibe and great gear and a wonderful sounding record room. It's actually an old church. This record is great! It fires on all cylinders, from songs thru performance. It doesn't sound bad either. And me and the band have gotten on famously. Look for this record in the summer.

Up next is Cymbals Eat Guitars, a young quartet from NYC, who evoke the spirit of Jawbox, Sonic Youth and the like. Four young kids who make wonderful noise. Throughout rehearsals we've tweaked arrangements and worked on approach and by the time these kids get into the studio, they will be ready to kick ass!

A few other things before I go. The great Norwegian band, Madrugada, who I've made a few records with are re releasing their records, remastered with extra tracks. They asked me to do liner notes for the remastered, "Nightly Disease" and I was thrilled! It's the first time I've ever done anything like that. Totally exciting.

Also, it looks like I'll be hosting an indie rock forum for the website Pro Recording Workshop. That should be happening soon. My mentor, William Wittman asked me to do it and I couldn't say no. Once again something new to this guy. Maybe you can teach an old Italian Producer/Engineer new tricks.

Well that's it for now. Whew. Long post this time. Be well everyone and go buy the Kurt Vile record!

 



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