STORY

 

J. Allen’s songs are folk songs written inside the whirlwind that is NewYork City… country hymns tuned in to the traffic hum and the subway rumble.

 

‘Worry Not’, his heartfelt, folksy debut record with Altco Recordings marks a turn from the atmospheric, indie-folk aesthetic of his previous work to a more traditional American palette.  It also welcomes a renewed collaboration with Alan Weatherhead (Magnolia Electric Company, Sparklehorse) as mixer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist..   The modern-country track ‘Fall Out of Love‘ has recently been featured on the latest Birdstone Records compilation (DE) . American and Canadian shows continue this year, as well as video launches via Record NY.
‘What one hears are his earnest, strained vocals along with sometimes delicate, sometimes thrashed acoustic guitar with occasional percussion and pedal steel.’ – Americana UK ‘
J. Allen is also the songwriter and founding member of Brooklyn’s bare knuckled indie outfit Meanwhiles.  In early 2010, finding himself newly unsigned, he began recording and arranging what would become his first ever solo release,‘Wonder City’.  The atmospheric and introspective LP is a true ‘solo’ record on which he writes, plays, and sings all of the parts himself.. except for the street noise and subway rumble, which he captured ‘on location’ with film production mics and portable recording equipment. In an affecting combination of sound design and intimate performance each track blends together recordings from different sonic spaces, resulting in a cinematic landscape of a song. A verse might take place on a rainy street…a chorus in a quiet bedroom.

 

‘Wonder City’ was officially released in Europe and the UK in September 2012 bringing rave reviews from the indie press and sending Allen on his most expansive tour to date including stops at The Reeperbahn Festival, NXNE, and Rural Indie Camp.   American and Canadian shows followed, as did a series of singles and video releases for ‘O My Love’, ‘Afterglow’, and ‘Other Side of the Day’.

 

In his time with Meanwhiles, J. Allen and his brother Todd recorded 2 full length albums, 2 eps and travelled across the US and Europe, sharing stages with the likes of Martha Wainwright and Dean Wareham and Paul Kimble (Grant Lee Buffalo). Their debut album, ‘The Nights Rewind’ features Wainwright singing harmony vocal with Allen and was produced alongside Alan Weatherhead.  In late 2006 it was released by Decoder Records in Germany and the band began touring in earnest. Meanwhiles recorded and released their second LP, ‘Slow Motion Summer’ in 2009.  The album marked a move towards more stripped down sound, with Allen engineering and mixing in the brothers’ Brooklyn apartment.  Weatherhead again lent pedal steel and orchestral samples to the mix, as he had for ‘The Nights Rewind’.  And, the London songwriter Nadine Khouri also made a guest appearance adding a haunting vocal to Allen’s ‘Dreams from the Underground’.
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