Papa

"Everyone becomes sea urchins and rats at night," says PAPA's Darren Weiss, laughing slyly. "It's the nature of being young."

Like with an inside joke you know, you smirk along, succumbing to a moment of reverie. The suggestion of crawling so close to the dirt floods in bastard memories. And so, when the versatile drummer, singer and principle songwriter next puts his band's musical efforts in simple terms such as, setting out to make "American soul music with a punk-rock mentality" on its forthcoming EP, A Good Woman is Hard to Find, you nod along, like, yeah that sounds about right.

There's a poetic purity that runs through the songs, suggesting devious truths and well told lies, rolling along with a natural swagger that thoughtlessly evokes hard-hitting shakes and slow-swinging shimmies. Weiss' earnest vibrato often takes on a Springsteen-like growl in its best moments, crooning reminiscences on "I Am The Lion King," "I got to make a you a woman. You got to make me a man." In each song's groove there's a dangerous sexiness to PAPA-the furious grip of the dance floor, the cold pavement outside, and the way you kiss when you're not sure you'll ever see the person again or whether you'd even want to.

A Good Woman is Hard to Find is an album as ripe for romance as it is partying. It has moments of aggression and simple bliss, with a classic sense of harmony, melody and style. It's a modern, rough-and-tumble take on classic soul, without a doubt. With the help of Weiss' musical partner, friend-since-childhood, bassist Danny Presant, the tracks gain a hip-hop sensibility that separates PAPA from simple revivalists and instead into timeless territory. It's an exacting and revelatory ode to what's wrong with modern romance but what won't stop one from giving it another go. Meanwhile, the cover art shows a waifish, made-up girl, smoking a cigarette, smiling with a come-hither wink that suggests a good time but history argues otherwise. Here we go again. It's an instant testament to our hero's exhausting trials in love and those superficial layers that brutally slice through once promising, meaningful connections.

Weiss and Presant grew up in Los Angeles and have always had a home in California. Weiss is also a passionate painter and writer of prose.

PAPA's A Good Woman is Hard to Find will be released October 4th on Hit City U.S.A. and Psychedelic Judaism.

Spring 2010 saw the demise of Port O'Brien, and founding member/front man Van Pierszalowski needed a break from the hectic, wonderful mess that is touring. He stumbled into respite in Oslo, Norway, and spent some time away from making music. Van explored the new city, swam in the Norwegian fjords, enjoyed the weather and the experience of seasons changing. He found his bearings and fell in love again.

Inspiration arrived and as he wrote, Van was compelled to fuel the process further by changing his environment once more. He spent most of the next year traveling: to Alaska, where he'd spent summers working on his father's commercial salmon fishing boat; to California, where he'd grown up in a seaside town off Highway 1; and eventually to New York, where in Brooklyn he endured relentless blizzards and a cold nearly reminiscent of Oslo.

Van gave his new project a name: WATERS. These new songs he wrote veered away from the frequently loose, punchy anthems of Port O'Brien, and as he intensively pieced each one together, he sought a bigger sound – something louder than he could play on his own. So Van returned to Oslo, where his new journey had begun. He put together a band of fine Norwegian gentlemen and spent every day of the next two months rehearsing in a small practice space outside of the city.

This band went with Van to Dallas, Texas, to record with producer John Congleton. Over a brief 10-day recording session in April, Congleton – who has worked on some of Van's favorite albums (by artists including St. Vincent, Bill Callahan, and yes, R. Kelly) – kept the production stark, maintaining the songs' intimacy and emotional intensity. Out In The Light has a louder, fuller, more aggressive and raw sound than any of Van's earlier works. It's a mix of fuzzy, pealing guitars and crashing drums, and easy, alternately soaring and languid, indelible melodies.

According to Van, "The record is about waking up. It is about getting out of a situation that seems endless, and realizing you're not too old to make dramatic and sudden changes in your life. It is about starting over."

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Papa with WATERS

Thursday, November 21 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Harlow's Restaurant and Nightclub

Tickets Available at the Door