(Includes new album tracks)
Listen while you read!
I arrived at Ball State University in fall of 2005 and began writing for the student newspaper immediately. One of the first shows I was ever asked to review was a Saxon Shore show. Everything, Now! opened. Everything, Now! shows back then were a beautiful mess, full of sloppy mistakes, barbaric energy and an unkempt, disheveled approach to their songs. With seven to nine members onstage, you couldn’t really hear singer Jon Rogers, and then-bassist Richard Knapp’s amp overpowered everything else in the band.
I think that’s what Iggy Pop had in mind when he thought of Raw Power. I was floored.
But one of the pleasures of being an Everything, Now! fan has been watching the band grow. They’ve compartmentalized their lineup and ditched the spacey, experimental psych-rock of Sunshine of Doom and the raucous Bowie-inspired Police, Police! era, toying with everything from lo-fi bedroom-sounding recordings (Bible Universe), to spacey dance-pop (Ugly Magic), and finally returning to the band’s Bowie roots on both Spatially Severed and the just-released Do It On The Moon. They’re simply one of the most consistent and challenging bands I’ve ever heard.
But mostly, what has made Everything, Now! a compelling band to watch has been the way Rogers’ songwriting has evolved over the years. Free of the dense mayhem of Police, Police!, his songwriting has been in the spotlight, and he’s churned out classics on each of the group’s subsequent records. The gorgeous spaghetti-western sounding “Denial” and the sanguine, eternally hopeful “The Birth of Ugly Magic” from Bible Universe both display the DNA traits essential to Rogers’ songwriting – an adherence to classic song structure, careful attention to melody, and overarching, inspirational blasts of hope.
Do It On The Moon is no different. While Bible Universe remains the bands high-water mark, and a near-perfect album, Do It On The Moon continues a trend that I’ve really enjoying seeing in Everything, Now! They’ve become a band with a firm grasp on its ambitions and willing to play to their strengths. Both Spatially Severed and Do It On The Moon are stately, restrained releases. They’re both solid, and at times great, releases from a band that’s been around long enough to know not to suffer moments of hubris.
“Over and Away,” “Imagine 2040,” “Jesus Johnny Appleseed,” and “Hope in Fearsville” all find Everything, Now! in vintage form, with Rogers churning out beguiling songs, Drew DeBoy layering blips and bleeps on top of textural keyboard parts, Allen Bannister playing understated, George Harrison-esque guitar parts, and Dan Schepper providing a guiding hand on drums.
(Do It On The Moon cover art)
Do It On The Moon was recorded over the course of the last year in DeBoy’s basement by producer Tyler Watkins, who manned the controls on Police, Police! as well as Spatially Severed. Featuring guest appearances from Margot & the Nuclear So and So's frontman Richard Edwards and former Margot trumpet player, Hubert Glover (along with a few other friends), Do It On The Moon culls together all resources available to the band.
Despite the band’s chameleon-like appearance over the years and constantly evolving sound, there’s always been a sense of humanity and hope at the heart of songs like “I’m a Bastard,” “Freedom Sex with Bible Woman,” “I Live in a Trailer Park,” or “Fishbowl Prank.” That humanity is the group’s defining trait, the common thread that pulls all the disparate influences – the experimentations with dance-pop, folk, country blues, glam or psychedelic rock – into the package that we know as Everything, Now!
Case in point: The end of “Heavenly Father,” Do It On The Moon’s closing track, feels like the long-lost distant cousin to “Fishbowl Prank” from Police, Police! with its “We don’t have anything/we don’t want anything/but love/love, love, love” chant echoing the latter’s “One day we’ll legalize love/and everyone will sing together” chorus.
We want to share those emotions with them, and when we need a lift-me-up, we can always turn to Rogers for a line like “When the heaviness of your load gets you down/let the lightness of your soul carry you on.”
That’s what music is all about right?
Stream, download, or pre-order the vinyl for Do It On the Moon right now at Everything, Now!'s bandcamp site.
Hear three new album tracks, live recordings, and other album recordings at their MFT page.