Morningwood to release Diamonds & Studs
When we last saw Morningwood, the New York-based band was touring in support of its self-titled debut, an album Rolling Stone praised for its "catchier-than-chlamydia mix of power-pop hooks and effects-heavy riffage." Alternative Press lauded the disc for being "an endorphin-infused dance party with explosions of punk rock, new wave and glam."
Title: Diamonds & Studs
Release date: 12/30/09
Single: Best of Me
Buy at: Amazon
Spin spotlighted the band as the “Artist of the Day” and wrote, “Frontwoman Chantal Claret’s killer ingénue persona gives audience plenty to remember.” Fueled by lead single “Nth Degree” and an electrifying live show played to packed-house crowds on both sides of the pond, the record detonated on impact, rocketing straight to No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart.
For sophomore album Diamonds &Studs, the band turns up the juice, lifting the sonic textures of their signature pop-rock sound and wrapping them over a new, beat-driven backbone.
“We love the energy of rock music,” says Claret, “but our artistic influences are so broad. We let them all meld together on this record and that was a really liberating feeling. We weren’t afraid to let our freak flag fly.”
The newfound sense of freedom allowed the band to try new things, like incorporating Japanese taiko drums into the hard-driving lead single “Best Of Me” or sampling operatic vocals for the pre-chorus of “Hot Tonight”—all done without ever sacrificing hook or melody.
“It’s an album that makes you move,” adds bassist Pedro Yanowitz. The title is perfect—the vocal melodies are polished in pop-sparkle, but the guitars just snarl.”
The album title is also a fitting description of the band itself: Claret and Yanowitz mixing their personalities of tough and sweet, hard and soft, to create scorching singalongs that are meaty, beaty, big and bouncy.
Says Claret, “We sometimes clash on a personal level because we’re total opposites, but that’s exactly what makes our creative sparks ignite in the music.”
Among the album’s many highlights is “That’s My Tune,” which features a special guest appearance by mystery British rapper Lady G-Fish, “Cat In The Box,” a cautionary tale of a one-night stand gone awry, the milkshake-thick rhythms of “Sugarbaby” and “Killerlife,” which Claret wrote with Yanowitz about her late mother.
“It’s a song about how short life is and having to carry on when you lose someone you love,” she says. “My mom was a tough, independent woman and a fighter. She was our number one fan. We had a show scheduled on the night she passed away and I went ahead with it because she loved the band and she loved it when I performed.”
The band’s genesis can be traced back to Manhattan in 2001 when former Wallflowers drummer Yanowitz met film student Claret at a four-in-the-morning party at the iconic Dakota Building on Central Park West. By night’s end, Pedro had talked Chantal into becoming his partner—musically speaking.
“It’s why you live in a city like New York” says Yanowitz, “the possibility that a life-changing encounter could be at the next intersection, or subway stop, or cocktail party.”
“We came up with the name Morningwood on our first phone call,” recalls Claret, “before we had even made a note of music together.”
The band quickly gained a reputation around the city as a band to see (their sweaty and feverish live show is known for its lascivious moments, including a time in the set when audience members strip to the strains of “Take Off Your Clothes”).
A record deal followed and over the course of the past few years, the band established itself as one of rock’s most exciting new voices. They’ve toured with the likes of Gang of Four and Kasabian and performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Last Call With Carson Daly” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Their music has also been licensed for a plethora of video games, TV shows, commercials and films, including Sex and the City: The Movie.
Now they’re raising the bar with Diamonds &Studs.
"We've been through a lot since the last record and grown up musically, mentally, and emotionally," says Claret. "But," she laughs, "the most important thing is making sure we always have a dirty good time. We have our priorities."
"Diamonds & Studs" by Morningwood - release date: 12/30/09..