River City Extension are set to release, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger, on June 5 via XOXO Records/Anchor & Hope Music. The eight-member band, which hail from Toms River, New Jersey, recorded the 14-track album with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Josh Ritter, Secret Machines, Gomez) at Engine Studios in Chicago.
The band have made the song “There & Back Again,” which is taken from the new album, available to stream via SoundCloud link below. It features a blistering harmonica solo by famed photographer Danny Clinch.
The lyrically ambitious, stylistically adventurous Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger confronts thorny issues of personal and spiritual struggle in a manner that’s both intimate and illuminating;
Songwriter and front-man Joe Michelini describes it as an album about resolution and forgiveness. “For the most part, these songs represent a dark period in my life when I really didn’t like myself,” he explains. “I was still young and still learning, and a lot of people were probably hurt by the person I was at the time. Half of this record is love songs, and half is ‘I’m sorry that I f***ed up’ songs — I look at them as a stepping stone, a way to put some distance between myself and that part of my life, and to remind myself that I’ve chosen to do better.”
An abiding faith in the music and an unflinching sense of honesty have been constants for River City Extension since the band’s humble beginnings in Toms River. Michelini had already established a local reputation as a solo singer/songwriter when he first assembled a small acoustic combo under the River City Extension banner in late 2007. Soon, his musical vision had attracted an assortment of like-minded souls, and the act had expanded into its eight-person form. They recorded their debut album, The Unmistakable Man, with a minimum of funds, but an abundance of belief in their musical mission; then signed with Asbury Park indie label XOXO (home to fellow NJ natives the Gaslight Anthem), which released The Unmistakable Man in May 2010. The album gained momentum slowly but surely, with accolades from Paste, NPR, Spin and Alternative Press, and by 2011 River City Extension was touring hard, playing major festivals (like Newport Folk Fest and Bonnaroo) and supporting artists ranging from the Avett Brothers to The Get Up Kids.
The band have played explosive showcase concerts at previous SXSW and Newport Folk Festival producer Jay Sweet stumbled upon the gig, and later told Billboard,
“This band, River City Extension, is ripping the paint off the wall. These guys are playing like they’re playing Madison Square Garden at midnight. These guys are closing Woodstock. Honestly! The place was about to explode…. I’ll never forget it, because when River City Extension finished their set, the place physically would not let them [leave]. They tried to walk off the stage and people were not letting them walk off. It wasn’t just plain clapping, they physically were not letting the band leave the stage.” Sweet offered them a set at Newport on the spot.
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Artist web link: http://rivercityextension.com/