Singer / Songwriter and fine artist Joseph Arthur and former REM guitarist Peter Buck are a couple of guys who don’t need a little blog like The ‘Gig to give them press, because they are both hugely successful in their own rights. But this space is never about obligation, but rather it is about what is desired in the moment when I go hunting through my ridiculously clogged in-box to pick out your Sunday Jam. Because I love Jospeh Arthur to pieces, and R.E.M. were a band of immeasurable importance to me back in my college days, so it is my pleasure to turn you on to their new thing, Arthur Buck, and the paisley-powered-powered video for “Are You Electrified?”, which is all kinds of crazy great. In addition to live-action footage of Joe and Peter, the video also feature Joe’s original artwork!
The Arthur Buck collaboration was established after the pair met up in Mexico near the end of 2017. They wrote eight songs in three days and on the fourth day, performed them for a handful of Baja locals near Buck’s home. Arthur says, “My first thought was, ‘Hey, I’ll get Peter to play acoustic guitar on some of the stuff I’m working on!’ So I started showing him songs. But he was like, ‘That’s cool. Now check this out.’ And he started playing chords and whatnot. So I put my guitar down and began singing over his changes, and it was magical. It was easy. And these great songs just started popping out.”
Since their initial meeting, the pair have been steadily working on their debut with basic tracks being recorded at Type Foundry Studio in Portland, OR with Arthur producing at his studio in Brooklyn, NY. The vibrant collection captures the spontaneity at the heart of the project – right down to the 1-2-3-4 count off from Buck that begins the proceedings – with sounds and styles mashed together in a unique and interesting manner. “It was all new songs, and it was spontaneous,” Buck says. “And the great thing about working that way was that it didn’t have to be anything in particular. It was liberated from any expectation. It was free.”
The two musicians have a history that stretches back decades; among other pairings, Arthur opened many shows for R.E.M. in the early 2000s, while Buck has backed Arthur on numerous occasions. Both Arthur and Buck have said that these songs differ from their other recording projects and while speaking with Rolling Stone last month, Buck said “It was really spontaneous and kind of magical in its own way, as [being in Mexico] we were kind of disconnected from everything.” Arthur added, “All of a sudden it was like I had this musical partner and friend, and that relieved the music of the burden of the self, if that makes sense.” Of his new bandmate, Buck stated, “Joe is going through that searching period we all go through in life. And those experiences he’s having make this a very forward-looking record, lyrically. The music has a questing kind of feel. We were making it up as we went along.”
Arthur Buck will be released on June 15th, 2018 via New West Records. Enjoy!