Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Chicagoan Craig Klein, aka The Race, is readying himself for a killer tour with Televon Tel Aviv, AND the 9/8 vinyl and digi-only release of Exiles on St. Ives (the newest imprint in the Jagjaguwar/Dead Oceans/Secretly Canadian family of labels). We could not be more pumped...there's a great story behind the process on this one that involves the American Southwest, dusty roads and cans of beans. I'll let him explain a bit about the record himself:

"While touring on our last record, 2007's Ice Station (Flameshovel), we spent several weeks on the road in our van, the Black Boat, frying in the Southwestern sun in places like Pecos, Abilene, Gila Bend, Imperial Sands and Needles. Exhausted late one night, we tried to find a motel room near Odessa, Texas, and pulled into the only motel we'd seen for hours. Without so much as looking up from her tabloid, the prickly clerk at the front desk said, "Everyone's looking for a room tonight, son. We got all kinds of men: Oil Men, Machinery Men, Construction Men, Company Men and Sorry Suckers like you. There ain't no vacancies. You won't find anyplace short of El Paso."

Damn if that clerk wasn't telling the truth. Hours later and a hundred miles from anywhere, we wound up flat on our backs pulled over and delirious on the westbound side of Highway 10. The annual Perseid meteor showers were on, and we laid there in awe, staring at the stars and listening to Ravi Shankar on the van's stereo at full blast. Under that widescreen sky, the idea for Exiles came about – it'd be a kind of Judeo-gothic-electric-western, melting the acid westerns and road films of the 60s and 70s with some cracked vision of Old Testament-style fire and brimstone. A couple of days later over tequila in Tucson, I put pen to paper for the song "Clack"-- and headed west from there.

Back home, I found inspiration in the photography of Edward Curtis, Richard Avedon and the Farm Security Administration, the stories of Moses and T.E Lawrence, the films of Warren Oates, Dennis Hopper, Peckinpah, Malick, Jodorowsky, Hellman, Roeg, and in the sounds of country, blues and electronic music.

I collected images and collaged the walls of my shitty little studio, a tiny, windowless blue room packed floor to ceiling with gear, paint chipped and crackling around its busted ceiling fan. I spent a Chicago winter ritualistically holed up in there, projecting myself into an alien-burning world. By day, I was bringing exhibits at the Chicago Public Library to fruition, mostly working on a short film about the history of Chicago's State Street. After work, I'd stick around and look for source material. When I got home, I'd eat the same meal every night --a half can of black beans and a fistful of kale--then I'd get to it. Alfredo Nogueira would come over and play his silver slide and help arrange what fell out. He and I wrote most of the music together. We used a lot of those bits we recorded in the blue room on the album. The rest was laid down later with Josh Eustis from Telefon Tel Aviv on the boards at Benelli Sound Labs. It's the second record we've made together. We came up with a palette of sound, (crusty synthesizers, broken guitars, machine drums, cave vocals) ran it to tape, and out came this record.

Exiles is meant to be an over-the-top listening experience, sonically, lyrically and thematically propulsive, bombastic and windblown, conjuring the desert's dunes, mirages and holy mountains as well as the outlaws, escape artists, searchers, wanderers, drifters, pariahs, prophets, misfits, mystics, miscreants and all the Sorry Suckers who've called the dusty road home. As dark as it may all sound, it was a hell of a lot of fun to make—and, we hope, an enjoyable listen."


Record Release Show

9/06 - Chicago @ Empty Bottle (w/Bloodiest, Ariisk)

The Race / Telefon Tel Aviv Tour

09/08 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Blind Pig

09/09 – Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo

09/10 – Montreal, QC @ Cabaret du Musee Justte Pour Rire

09/11 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Bell House

09/12 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge

09/13 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott

09/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kungfu Necktie

09/16 – Washington, DC @ DC9

09/17 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506

09/18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl

09/19 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks

09/21 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk

09/22 – Dallas, TX @ Cavern Ale House

09/24 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room

09/25 – Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland

09/26 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of The Hill

09/28 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios

09/29 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey

10/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry

10/08 - Hideout Chicago

Get in touch with me (Joan *at* riot act media dot com) for a digi-copy and/or to talk with Craig, mmmkay? For tour press, hit up (Nathan *at* riot act media dot com), and he'll get you sorted.

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/therace

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