If you’ve got just a minute of your time to give, It’s Casual would like to punch you in the face. The L.A.-based one-man outfit helmed by vocalist/guitarist/bassist/drummer Eddie Solis will release their new album, The New Los Angeles II, on Dec. 16 through Stoked Records. As the title hints, it’s a sequel to 2007’s The New Los Angeles, and even opens with a couple seconds fading out the drum progression of that record’s closer, “EZ Pass.” From there, however, The New Los Angeles II is a different beast, likewise pointed in its social commentary — Solis is vehement in his support for public transit — but turning his attention on real budget issues in Los Angeles. He’s the kind of guy who will run for mayor one day who will make more sense than everyone else and get the least airtime.
To wit, songs like “Less Violence, More Violins,” “Keep the Children Occupied,” “Sharing is Not Caring” and “Their Own Cash” point out the madness of not funding public education — the latter’s only lyrics, “Teachers use their own cash to buy stuff for their class,” are repeated in the Black Flag tradition of emphasizing absurdity through insistence — where “TAP Card,” “WIC” and “California is Not an ATM Machine” take on economic issues via real-world concerns, all the while pummeling a blend of heavy punk and thrash, Solis‘ growl pushing out minimalist lines that leave a maximum impression. The album as a whole is 27 minutes long, and about nine of those are devoted to the instrumental noise rocker “The Gap is Widening,” which leads the way into closer “Kids Having Kids,” so It’s Casual never take too long in making a point, every other track (including the closer, though that also makes room for a hidden bonus cut) under two minutes. The word of the day is “immediacy,” and It’s Casual are well familiar with it.
The New Los Angeles II is It’s Casual‘s fourth full-length, behind a 2009 split 7″ with Bullet Treatment, the first installment, 2004’s Stop Listening to Bad Music and 2002’s Buicregl, and it finds Solis — who also hosts the Los Angeles Nista talk show on AM radio — in his element musically and in terms of the commentary at hand. “Their Own Cash,” likewise true and infuriating, serves as a prime example of the record’s attitude and call to arms, and I’m happy to be able to host the streaming premiere today of it, as well as the Q&A with Solis that follows the player below.
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Q&A with Eddie Solis of It’s Casual
On “Their Own Cash”:
It’s really a POSITIVE track. I am trying to bring to light that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and other school districts are suffering from lack of resources. And that causes a trickle-down effect, for instance the music and art programs are cut and that leads to a challenge to keep the kids occupied. However what about the teachers’ perspective? What about their challenges? I have lots of friends and family that are teachers. They are already challenged with a modest salary but what about the ones that use “THEIR OWN CASH” for supplies? The song is a cry for help. It’s a testimony to the teachers who care and it’s also a cry for help. A topic that should be brought to light and should also be targeted and remedied. The lyrics: “Teachers use their own cash, to buy stuff for their class.”
Why The New Los Angeles II seven years after the original?
Seven years later because our album cycle didn’t really start till 2012. The record wasn’t properly distributed worldwide, toured and written about in the press till 2012.
Is the album a statement on sequel culture?
Yes, it is a statement on sequel culture. The New Los Angeles I was about being car-free, and celebrating the rich Los Angeles history through the eyes of a bus rider. However, The New Los Angeles II goes deeper. The New Los Angeles I was about history, culture, geography. Also a car-free lifestyle in a car culture. This The New Los Angeles II is about reporting on what I’m seeing on the buses and subway system. The people that are sitting right next to me. I’m talking about challenges people are facing. The positivity and the negativity, the yin and yang.
Any chance we could get a prequel at some point, something like The Old Los Angeles?
Yes, very possible. It’s realistic because there is a type of person that has been spawned from Los Angeles that is destructive and stunted and I want shed light on the sociology aspect of where this all comes from. Pre-MTA public transportation, L.A. life.
At what point did you know it would be The New Los Angeles II instead of some other title?
I was conscious. The New Los Angeles I inspired me. It was due to the fact that I was so inspired by all the press, shows and the music video that Rick Kosick of Jackass did for “The Redline.” It spawned my radio show Los Angeles Nista which started on internet-only but is now on AM talk radio as well in three major markets: Orange County (1510AM), Inland Empire (1510AM) and San Diego (1450AM). So when I wrote part two, it was about the same thread of commonality but going deeper into the neighborhoods and connecting with people.
Why the long break between albums?
The album cycle to the previous record started in 2012 so it was necessary.
When did the songs start to come together?
June 2012 was the pre-production date. And we tracked mixed and mastered in Aug. 2012, but the tracks started coming together during early 2012. The inspiration and juice came from The New Los Angeles I album cycle in 2012.
What was the recording like in comparison to the original The New Los Angeles?
Very similar. In fact the beginning of The New Los Angeles II starts out the way part one ends. The comparison and common thread is that it is completely is all about Los Angeles and is inspired by being car-free and green.