River City Extension
River City Extension will release their sophomore album, "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger," on June 5 via XOXO Records / Anchor & Hope Music. The eight-member Toms River, New Jersey, band recorded the 14-track album with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Josh Ritter, Secret Machines, Gomez) at Engine Studios in Chicago. See below for a tracklist.
River City Extension have made a song from the new album, "There & Back Again," which features a blistering harmonica solo by famed photographer Danny Clinch, available to stream via SoundCloud at . The band have also posted an album trailer video at .
The lyrically ambitious, stylistically adventurous "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger" confronts thorny issues of personal and spiritual struggle in a manner that's both intimate and illuminating; songwriter and frontman Joe Michelini describes it as an album about resolution and forgiveness. "For the most part, these songs represent a dark period in my life when I really didn't like myself," he explains. "I was still young and still learning, and a lot of people were probably hurt by the person I was at the time. Half of this record is love songs, and half is 'I'm sorry that I fucked up' songs -- I look at them as a stepping stone, a way to put some distance between myself and that part of my life, and to remind myself that I've chosen to do better."
The title "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger" paraphrases a Bible quote, Ephesians 4:26, which Michelini's mother would often cite when he was growing up. "I didn't actually know that it was from the Bible until after I picked it as the album title," he says. "I just knew it as this thing that my mom would always say, like, let the problems of the day be the problems of the day, move on, forgive people, forgive yourself, let it go."
An abiding faith in the music and an unflinching sense of honesty have been constants for River City Extension since the band's humble beginnings in Toms River. Michelini had already established a local reputation as a solo singer/songwriter when he first assembled a small acoustic combo under the River City Extension banner in late 2007. Soon, his musical vision had attracted an assortment of like-minded souls, and the act had expanded into its eight-person form. They recorded their debut album, "The Unmistakable Man," with a minimum of funds, but an abundance of belief in their musical mission; then signed with Asbury Park indie label XOXO (home to fellow NJ natives the Gaslight Anthem), which released "The Unmistakable Man" in May 2010. The album gained momentum slowly but surely, with accolades from Paste, NPR, Spin and Alternative Press, and by 2011 River City Extension was touring hard, playing major festivals (Newport Folk Fest, Bonnaroo, Warped Tour and more) and supporting artists ranging from the Avett Brothers to The Get Up Kids.
River City Extension will hit the road for the first time in 2012 for two weeks of Southeast and Midwest shows surrounding SXSW; see below for dates. The band played an explosive showcase at last year's SXSW; Newport Folk Festival producer Jay Sweet stumbled upon the gig, and later told Billboard, "This band, River City Extension, is ripping the paint off the wall. These guys are playing like they're playing Madison Square Garden at midnight. These guys are closing Woodstock. Honestly! The place was about to explode.... I'll never forget it, because when River City Extension finished their set, the place physically would not let them [leave]. They tried to walk off the stage and people were not letting them walk off. It wasn't just plain clapping, they physically were not letting the band leave the stage." Sweet offered them a set at Newport on the spot.