Big Scenic Nowhere Premiere New Single “Lavender Bleu”

big scenic nowhere

Hard to talk about Big Scenic Nowhere and not use the term ‘supergroup.’ The band, which made their first release through Blues Funeral Recordings‘ ‘PostWax’ subscription series and followed that 2019 proof-of-concept Dying on the Mountain EP (discussed here) quickly by signing to Heavy Psych Sounds to issue a debut album, Vision Beyond Horizon (review here) and a subsequent EP, Lavender Blues (review here), both in 2020. Founded with the collaboration between guitarists Gary Arce (Yawning Man) and Bob Balch (Fu Manchu) at its core, the band quickly came to include Tony Reed (Mos Generator) on vocals, bass and various keys, drummer Bill Stinson (Yawning Man), and a range of guests that has continued to expand even as the lineup solidified.

As Bob Balch talked about in his interview here last month, the four-piece got together in Nov. 2019 for a few days of jamming and they’re still going through the resultant material to piece together songs. Their second album, The Long Morrow, is set to see release this Fall through Heavy Psych Sounds, and its big scenic nowhere the long morrowsongs are being issued piecemeal, one at a time, ahead of the full LP’s arrival. Premiering today, “Lavender Bleu” is the third cut to make its way to public ears behind the more straightforward driving “LeDü” and the weighted-riff-into-harmonies-and-dream-build of “Murder Klipp,” and like each of the preceding songs, it finds Big Scenic Nowhere with a different look. Across just over five minutes, it centers around trademark Arce noodling and the more grounded impulses of Balch setting a path for Stinson‘s drums, while Reed‘s vocals enter gentle, not quite foreshadowing the pickup to come at around 1:40 in.

Though “Lavender Bleu” — which reworks themes from the prior EP as Balch explains below — gets heavier, it never pushes too far away from the classic prog rock spirit one finds at its beginning, and instead trades back and forth before a Mellotron-inclusive ending offers duly resonant culmination. It is prog-of-old filtered through desert ambience with a heavy rock underpinning, and for many bands, this song would be more than enough of a stylistic blueprint to serve as a career arc. That is to say, there are bands who put out albums less rich than this one track and do just fine. Yet one would not call “Lavender Bleu” overbaked or overthought. Sculpted around improvisation, it nonetheless retains that air of spontaneity no matter how many layers are situated atop the basic tracks.

It’s fascinating on a process level to hear Balch talk about how the material for The Long Morrow is coming together — if you didn’t watch that interview, your loss — but “Lavender Bleu” brings more fluidity than the sum of the parts making it, and the textures it speaks to only herald further depth of exploration still to come. I can’t wait to hear this record.

Each member of Big Scenic Nowhere offers some comment below, I think in a manner that represents personae well. Arce talks about the improv, Balch the chord progression, Stinson the overall vibe of the finished product and Reed the reference point from which the lyrics emerged and the melody of the vocals. You can also stream the other two songs near the bottom of this post.

Enjoy the track and stay tuned for more on The Long Morrow:

Big Scenic Nowhere, “Lavender Bleu” official track premiere

LAVENDER BLEU is the new BIG SCENIC NOWHERE single. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming new album THE LONG MORROW, to be released this fall on Heavy Psych Sounds.

Bob Balch on “Lavender Bleu”:

“Lavender Bleu” is actually a combination of two songs from our “Lavender Blues” EP. When we recorded back in November of 2019, we would play two riffs a few times back and forth and then just jam out on one of the riffs. Think
(riff A, riff B, riff A, riff B, jam out on riff A)
(riff A, riff B, riff A, riff B, jam out on riff B)
So the jams became “Lavender Blues” and “Labyrinths Fade” from our last EP. Now with “Lavender Bleu” you get to hear how those are actually sections of the same song.
I really like how this tune turned out. Can’t really think of another band that sounds like this. Everybody killed it on this one.

Tony Reed on “Lavender Bleu”:

“Lavender Bleu” was the first song I worked on after the November 2019 recording sessions. I had Dan (Joeright) set up a microphone during the sessions so I could sing Ideas that were happening when we were recording the jams. I think this was the only song where the vocal melody came to me as we were recording. This is my favorite song of all the material we’ve done together. I’m a huge fan of melody and this has tons of it. It has a melancholy / romantic feel that I find pleasing as well. “Bleu” is spelled this way after one of my all time favorite songs. A song called “Butterfly Bleu” by Iron Butterfly. The lyrics seem to be about taking a harder path. Making sacrifices in life to follow passion and calling rather than falling into a routine where, as you get older, you’re constantly saying “I wish I….”

Gary Arce on “Lavender Bleu”:

“Lavender Bleu” started with a mellow riff I was messing with for a awhile. We had been been jamming for a few hours and I wanted to slow it down and do something more open and spacious. So I started playing the main riff and everyone just kinda fell into place quietly and patiently. The second heavier part just happened naturally during the jam. It’s one of my favorite songs we’ve done so far. Tony kills it on vocals on this song.

Bill Stinson on “Lavender Bleu”:

This song really pulls you in different directions… melancholy and weaving a story through the music.

Big Scenic Nowhere, The Long Morrow (2021)

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