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A keen observer of pop culture, Alex Vans turns his observations into guitar laden indie rock with tight melodic hooks and sincere lyrical sensibility. With his new album, DJ Booth, due out January 8th, Vans jabs at the declining value of live music and the capricious heart of popular culture. “A lot of the content reflects my struggle to understand the irrational and fickle nature of pop-culture,” says Vans. “It’s all about psychology and what triggers an individual or a large group of people into caring about a particular aspect of our culture. If I ever figure that out, I’d have a big audience, but then I’ll have to find a new source of inspiration.”
Although written, arranged and produced by Vans himself, DJ Booth showcases his honest, catchy songwriting alongside a full band. The album features co-producers Chris Piola (The Makes), Abe Seiferth (DFA), Grammy Award-winning mixing engineer Mike Tarsia (David Bowie, Leon Redbone), and ESL Recording Artist, Will Rast (Thievery Corporation, The Funk Ark).
Written mostly while he was on the road touring as a backup guitarist for Justin Jones & The Driving Rain, DJ Booth is a genre-bending album that celebrates the musical diversity of artists like Bob Mould and The Walkmen, all tied together by Vans’ lyrical wit and cynicism and indie rock arrangements ranging from organic roots rockers to dance-hall ready anthems.
The album’s first single, “Chase the Night,” sounds as big as your Friday night plans. Vans achieved a huge, ambient sound by recording drums, piano, guitar and horns in an old mill, and then worked with Abe Seiferth to record synth, electric guitar, electric bass and vocals. The resulting song showcases a duality between dancehall bombast, and melancholy lyrics; a multi-layered tune about chasing after love, fun, alcohol, and the disappointing morning after.
Another standout on DJ Booth is “Wait,” a poppy, chiming song that captures that unfortunate ritual of talking yourself out of approaching someone you’re attracted to. With charming harmonies, Vans’ disarming lyrics and an irrepressible melody, the tune makes art out of inner monologue.
Beginning as a solo acoustic act in the DC area, Alex Vans has two previous releases; a self-titled debut and the 2010 EP “Old Souls & Other Cellar Songs” both critically well-received. A Deli Magazine Artist of the Month, Vans toured extensively following the success of his first two releases, playing over 100 shows since the beginning of 2011. Alex Vans brings the energy of his live show and the chops from all that touring to DJ Booth an album that clearly shows the enduring value of live music.