TEST PRESSING - Lawn - Johnny
3 of 5 test pressing available
150 evergreen marble vinyl
350 classic black vinyl
1. Playing Dumb
2. Honest to God/Paper
3. Talk of the Town
4. Nighttime Creatures
5. Jane Ryan
Mac Folger - Vocals/Guitar/Keys
Rui DeMagalhaes - Vocals/Bass/Guitar
Hunter Keene - Drums/Percussion
Recorded and mixed by Matthew Seferian
Mastered by Andy Gross
Album cover by Annie Russell
With special thanks to:
Nicholas Corson - Additional vocals on tracks 3, 6, 7, and 8
Merle Law - Additional vocals on tracks 1, 4, 8, and 9. Keys on track 3.
Jamie Joyce - Drums on track 7
Duncan Troast - Keys on track 4
Vinyl pressed locally
at New Orleans Record Press
Lacquer: Carl Saff
Friday September 4th - 2020
Community Records Release - 102
Muscle Beach - 039
About Lawn - Johnny:
Some records feel like classics the moment you hear them, like the songs have been living in the ether forever, just waiting for someone to catch them and bring them down to earth. Lawn’s music feels eternal in that same way. It could be brand new, or it could be some forgotten dust-covered LP you discover in the back of a record store.
Originally from Tennessee and Venezuela respectively, bandmates Mac Folger and Rui DeMagalhaes first met in New Orleans’ house show scene and formed Lawn a few years later with the addition of Mac’s roommate at the time, drummer Nick Corson. The band quickly recorded their first full-length, the raw and scrappy Blood on the Tracks, in 2018 with Ross Farbe of Video Age. Released via Minneapolis-based Forged Artifacts (City Pages’ Best Record Label of 2019), the debut saw Lawn open for the likes of The Drums, Surf Curse, Omni, Hovvdy, Hoops, and more. Gold Flake Paint called it “a bold and brilliant set of songs that teem with energy,” and Post-Trash added, “Lawn kind of sounds like if The Cars were a jangly indie rock band and forgot to use their keyboards.”
After Corson departed from the band — to be replaced by another New Orleans transplant Hunter Keene — Lawn decided to take their time with the forthcoming follow-up, Johnny, which is set to release September 4, 2020 via Fat Possum imprint Muscle Beach Records. Recording with friend and local mainstay Matthew Seferian (Pope, Matt Surfin' & Friends) at his studio The Palace gave them the freedom and leeway to make music at their own pace, getting everything exactly right.
Rui says, “We’re such good friends with Matt, he gave us the liberty to come and go as we please and modify things as we wanted. No time constraints. It took us three months to track and mix the record. We came in after work, just whenever we could. We kept it organic and loose, with good vibes all around.”
“Matt was a big early supporter of Lawn,” adds Mac. “Very encouraging from the get-go. I knew he had the best interest of the band at heart.”
With the goal of documenting the way the band sounded in real-time, all of the basic tracks were recorded live by the trio, with occasional overdubs by friends Merle Law and Duncan Troast. Former drummer Corson sings backup on several songs as well.
The resulting 9-song set is a massive step forward for the band. Johnny is intense but effortless, jumping to and from ragged post-punk and gleeful ‘90s indie-rock hooks. The record seamlessly transitions from opening ripper “Playing Dumb” to the XTC-like psychedelia of “Nighttime Creatures” to the heavy art-punk-infused “Jane Ryan,” each sound slipping on easy as a dressing gown.
Mac and Rui made a conscious effort to write all of the songs together. “Mac gravitates toward pop music,” says Rui. “I’m closer to harsh territory. We’re good foils. Musically, we just know how to complement each other. I seldom think of a time when he comes up with something I don’t like. We’re always finding the missing pieces of the puzzle for each other.”
Mac agrees, “There is a coolness to being able to lean into whatever comes out, not worrying about genres or anything like that. I trust Rui to know what to play, and I trust my own instincts too. Just keeping what we came up with the first time.”
The jangle-pop title track, written primarily by Mac, is about growing up in a liberal Tennessee bubble and realizing you still have to take responsibility for the privilege into which you were born. “I grew up thinking I was right and a good person, because I came from a liberal background,” says Mac. “I took that for granted growing up, and I realized that was bullshit. ‘Johnny’ is my grandfather’s name, and the song is directed at him.”
In album standout “Summertime,” Rui details a racist encounter he experienced while working as a server in a New Orleans restaurant. “There’s a line in that song that says, ‘How dare you hide your accent from me?’ because that’s what the guy actually said to me,” explains Rui. “I grew up privileged, and I never thought racism would be my problem. My privilege meant nothing in that restaurant because I was brown and serving them, depending entirely on their tips. I was just another brown guy who needed their money.” The song is filled with righteous fury and guitar-driven melodies, easily one of the highpoints of the record.
With Johnny, Lawn have created a vital record for our times: one with a conscience and a heart, filled with sing-along catharsis and hooks to match. Equal parts raw anger and utter joy, it is a fierce collection of bombastic indie rock, the perfect soundtrack to our canceled summer.