Amen Dunes, the project of New York-based Damon McMahon, is set to release his third full-length album, Love, this May on Sacred Bones.
Lonely Richard is the first track to be unveiled from the forthcoming release, featuring guest vocals from Elias Bender Ronnenfelt of Iceage and Vår, and is also available on the Sacred Bones’ Record Store Day complilation, Todo Muere Vol. 4 which is out April 19.
The upcoming album is McMahon’s most focused and ambitious work yet. Amen Dunes has always been rooted in traditional song and sound but Love is his first work in which this so clearly shines through. The guiding influence of Astral Weeks, Sam Cooke, Tim Hardin, Marvin Gaye, Hector Lavoe and the cosmic non-verbal mediations of Leon Thomas, all kept vigil over the song writing of Love and the spirit of late 60’s/early 70’s spiritual jazz of Pharaoh Sanders and Alice Coltrane channelled the sound. These are elemental songs about time, love and memory, as much about the listener as they are about the writer: pure, open and beautiful.
Whereas the previous Amen Dunes records – D.I.A. (Locust Music, 2009), Murder Dull Mind EP (Sacred Bones, July 2010) and Through Donkey Jaw (Sacred Bones, August 2011) – had all been largely improvisational first-take affairs, recorded in a matter of weeks at most, Love is the product of close to a year and a half of continuous work. As McMahon began to flesh out the new material, he found himself guided by the aforementioned work of classic American singers and songs more strongly than on any previous Amen Dunes record. And unlike the earlier recordings of McMahon’s, which were almost always a solo affair, the music on Love was performed by a variety of musicians, centred around the core trio and symbiotic interplay of McMahon and his long standing collaborators, Jordi Wheeler (guitar and piano) and Parker Kindred (drums).
Eager to capture a musical feeling outside the confines of New York City, McMahon chose to hold the main recording sessions in Montreal with Dave Bryant and Efrim Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. In addition to recording the sessions that McMahon produced, members of Godspeed also played on several of the songs, along with Colin Stetson on saxophone and several other Montreal musicians. The remainder of the recordings took place back in Brooklyn at Strange Weather and Trout Recording and featured additional performances by a handful of musicians, including Elias Bender Ronnenfelt of Iceage and Vår, who duets with McMahon on Green Eyes and is featured on first single, Lonely Richard.
Amen Dunes’ new album will be released on May 12 via Sacred Bones.
Live dates are to be announced soon.