Though the power-pop of Charlemagne is immediately recognizable in its new music video, the actual soundtrack to the shoot was something altogether different. Carl Johns, who moved from Madison to Philadelphia just over a year ago, explains what he and his bandmates Matt Ricchini and Michael Heizner were listening to as director Mike Zaleski shot the video one afternoon.
"We had just played a gig in Boston and had come back to Philly," he says. "We were going to shoot a live video in our downstairs rehearsal space, but another band was rehearsing in there." That band was Pissed Jeans, a hardcore quartet originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania that plays rock that's as caustic as Charlemagne's is tuneful. "So we played our song on a boom box while shooting our video with this hard rock blasting in the background," notes Johns.
Over the course of about three hours, Zaleski shot the video in the West Philly house. "We thought something up really quick," says Johns, who has since moved to Brooklyn. "Somehow I ended up in the shower. The fake blood was my idea, though."
This brand-new music video follows below.
Charlemagne's third full-length album, titled We Can Build an Island, is out today, Tuesday, September 11. "We went out to the desert to record it," says Johns. "It was first time I actually holed up for ten days straight making a record." He provided more details about the release in an announcement issued last Sunday:
In contrast to the first two, this one is more live sounding and less produced, more raw less candy, more angles less lush. Differences aside however, it showcases the pop sensibilities oft compared to The Kinks, The Vaselines, and 80's-90's New Zealand pop bands, that have long been signature Charlemagne.Several songs from We Can Build an Island are available for listening at their MySpace page.
We Can Build An Island was made at Tucson's Wavelab Studio where a wide variety artists such as Calexico, Robyn Hitchcock, Iron and Wine, and Animal Collective have recorded.The whole thing was tracked on 2" analog tape and mixed manually over 10 days. Instrumentation includes a lot of vintage guitars and amps, drums, 12-string, Rhodes, Hammond, Wurlitzer, violin, vibraphone, and a tone generator.
Backing Mr. Johns on this one are Matt Ricchini (drums, percussion, harmonies, guitars) and bassist Michael Heinzer (bass, 12-string), both of the Philadelphia band Soft People. These fellas also make up the current live band. And in addition to playing both of gentlemen brought additional talents to the project, Matt as a producer and Michael as the cover artist.
The band embarks on a mini-tour next week in support of the album, with its first stop appropriately enough in Madison. Charlemagne will be playing at the King Club on Saturday, September 22, supported by The Grizzlies, Icarus Himself and DJing by The Real Jaguar. "It will mostly be new material, and we'll play a couple of old favorites," says Johns. "It will be a good Madison night."