Image: Samuel Quinn
The title-track from Doug Tuttle’s forthcoming album It Calls On Me, is a tightly wound rocker that brings to mind a folk rock private press from 1974. Something you’d find in the second-hand bin of a small town Northern Californian record store. Like fellow US songwriters, Steve Gunn and Tim Presley, the music of Tuttle nods to the past of Gene Clark, the Byrds and Fairport Convention but adds it’s own jittery love-lorn anxiety and fractured psych pop.
On the the follow-up to his 2013 solo debut self-titled album, the New Hampshire native, who played in New England psych outfit Mmoss, brings together fragile harmonies and frayed-at-the edges pop that is as compelling and it is soothing.
It Calls On Me, is available Feb 19 through Trouble in Mind records. Listen to the track and read a short interview below.
Noisey: You live in Somerville, which, according to Wikipedia, has had “anti-yuppie graffiti appearing around town”. Have you seen any?
Doug Tuttle: I haven't. I did a quick search and it looks like this happened in 2005 and I lived on the other side of town back then. Somerville is fairly large with as many different neighborhoods as Boston proper. Some of it has been gentrified for 20-years, some of it is just about to head down that road. I'd guess I'm a year or two from being priced out of my corner.
I know it’s not about religion but there's an almost spiritual connotation to “It Calls on Me.”
It's meant to sound like a song about religion, but is more or less about panic attacks, and the feeling of being at the mercy of some unexplainable otherworldly force. I'm also into the whole private press Christian rock thing. I dig the sincerity and weirdo attempts at sounding pop. So that was definitely an inspiration on the song and title as well as the album cover.
I tracked down the Electric Coffee House compilation that you mentioned in another interview. There’s some awesome stuff there (as well as some average stuff). Do you have a favourite track from it?
Listening backi—it's been a while—I'd go for Peck's Bad Boys' "Silver Dawn." This record was my go to lazy choice for a few years so it all kind of became one thing to me. According to iTunes my current most listened to choices are Ithaca's "A Game For All Who Know," The Sixth Station's "Deep Night," and Jim Sullivan's "UFO." I listen to things over and over again till I completely lose interest.
I really like the guitars on the new album. Who are some of your favorite guitarists at the moment?
I really like Richard Thompson's playing, especially on the first Fairport Convention record, but also on essentially everything he's done, even on records I don't care for all that much I can still get excited about his playing. Roger McGuinn is a favorite as are the Byrds in general, I tend to use a lot of 12-string when recording, but find it too much trouble to use live. I really like Sandy Bull's style and the way he lets a guitar do the things a guitar does. A total expert guitarist, but still kept it raw.
I'm also a big fan of Peter Buck, was on a big REM kick in the car with my girlfriend this past summer and I realized that hearing Peter on the radio so much growing up hugely shaped the way I play. I really dig the way he and Mike Mills create the part together, each taking on half of the picture.
It Calls On Me is available Feb 19 through Trouble in Mind records.
Doug Tuttle on tour:
Feb 17 – Detroit at Marble Bar
Feb 18 – Chicago at The Owl
Feb 19 – Cleveland at Happy Dog
Feb 20 – Cincinnati at The Comet
Feb 21 – Nashville at East Room
Feb 22 – Atlanta at 529
Feb 23 - Chapel Hill at Local 506
Feb 24 – Richmond at Strange Matter
Feb 25 – Brooklyn at Rough Trade
Feb 26 – Providence at AS220
Feb 27 – Boston at Lillypad
Feb 28 – Portsmouth at 3S Artspace