Mule Kick Records Presents
the new full-length record by
NOCONA ~ LOS DOS
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Photo: Rob Shanahan
"Expansive, thoughtful, and hard-rocking, Los Dos is an exciting serving of forward-looking roots music." -- Chris Morris, Variety
"NOCONA has found that sweet spot. It is centered where Roots and Garage Rock, Cosmic Country and Punk find an older siblings stash of dark Psychedelia with their latest release Los Dos while also managing to explore Country Rock and bar band boogie. Los Dos is a dark Folk, Rock’n’Roll earful, part grievous-angel Graham Parsons, part devil-in-the-woods Jeffrey Lee Pierce." -- Bryant Liggett, The Alternate Root Magazine
“There’s part of me that’s always wanted to [have people] walk away from our band thinking they’d never heard anything like that before,” says Isom. He won’t quite get that wish with this album, whose songs do often sound redolent of such outfits as the Grateful Dead, Flying Burrito Brothers, and New Riders of the Purple Sage as well as more contemporary acts like Wilco and the Jayhawks. That doesn’t mean the album isn’t first-rate, however. This is intelligently written, consistently accessible, well-sung, and well-played material from a band that deserves to be as big as many of the acts that influenced it. -- Jeff Burger, Americana Highways
"Southern California rock and roll with a lot of punk attitude, surprisingly adept lyrics, and somehow a hint of cosmic Americana is effusing it all". -- Calvin Powers/Americana Music Show
"Just when you think you know where you are with Los Dos, the Americana roots sound is suddenly infused with some very English influences on Tabernacle Woes, bringing the kind of Bert Jansch/Nick Drake arpeggio guitar picking that Chicagoan Riley Walker has adapted so well. It's just a layer of flavour, though, that's added to the overall sound, and one of several songs that comes with an almost cinematic feel. With the delicate flourishes of Xander Hitzig's fiddle accompaniment, I could certainly imagine Tabernacle Woes sound tracking many of the dark dystopian westerns I like so much." -- Whiskey Preachin'
"Their psychedelic, garage rock and punk influences proudly fuel rollicking tracks such as “Chester,” “Too Much to Lose” and “Unseen Hand,” while California country’s heritage warms the harmonies and waves of pedal steel, acoustic guitar and soulful organ swelling behind narratives such as “Ace in the Hole” and the witty “Post Apocalyptic Blues.” With its thrumming undertow of fingerpicked guitar, violin and steel, “Tabernacle Woes” is the biggest sonic surprise—vaguely reminiscent of “Brimstone” (from 2013’s “ NOCONA ”) but with an eerie Celtic twist." -- Bliss Bowen, Pasadena Weekly
For myriad reasons, the City of Angels looms large over this record, with its mix of grit and glamour. Although the country music roots run deep throughout Los Dos, there are so many diverse influences going on here it's a record that defies attempts to pin it down. — Michael Hosie, Whiskey Preachin UK
“The group draws on country, folk, punk and even a bit of psychedelia to arrive at their rock sound.”-- Ditty TV
“Los Dos is the third album from Los Angeles band, Nocona and finds the band digging deeper into its bracing melding of hard-edged Americana and a keen punk-bred sensibility.”-- Glide Magazine
"In songs about love, death, demons and our collective souls, NOCONA’s music will haunt you. This one has an ease about it, but trust us, you’ll want to check out the entire album to get a true feel for their range." -- Americana Highways
“Los Dos is a really accomplished album from a band that have complete belief in themselves. One for the final Album of the Year list no doubt about that and a band to watch in the future. Wonderful album. Absolutely loved it!” -- Hobo On The Tracks
“The lyrics had an odd kind of resonance given what we are living through currently. We thought we’d make a video to hopefully lift some spirits during this otherwise very serious and sad time.”-- Chris Isom, NOCONA
LOS DOS - NOCONA
By Chris Morris
Chris Isom - Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Adrienne Isom - Bass, Vocals
Justin Smith - Drums, Vocals
Elan Glasser - Harmonica
Xander Hitzig - Fiddle
Dan Wistrom - Pedal Steel Guitar
Carl Byron - Keys
Los Dos, the third album by the Los Angeles band Nocona, finds the band digging deeper into its bracing melding of hard-edged Americana and a keen punk-bred sensibility.
Vocalist-guitarist-songwriter Chris Isom says, “We’re heavily influenced by a lot of Americana – country, bluegrass, and folk, everything going back to Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, and all the different ways that everything on that record split off into country and blues. But, also, I grew up in New York going to a lot of shows at CBGBs, in the punk and hardcore scene, and also acid rock and psychedelic pre-grunge stuff. There’s part of me that’s always wanted to freak people out, and have them walk away from our band thinking they’d never heard anything like that before.”
The new release – which succeeds Nocona’s self-titled 2014 debut and its 2015 sophomore effort Long Gone Song – was co-produced by Jay Braun and Adrienne Isom, with engineering by Braun and Kevin Jarvis. Sessions were begun in the Isoms’ garage, with work completed at Jarvis’ studio, the Sonic Boom Room, in Venice, California.
The mission for the band’s third album, Chris Isom says, was to keep it real: “We wanted to record as a band. We wanted to depart from the digital world as much as we could. We wanted to record without a click track, and we wanted the core of the recordings to be us playing in a room together – the way they used to do it in the punk days.”
Featuring 10 new originals written by Isom and a track, “Post Apocalyptic Blues,” penned by Isom and co-producer Braun, Los Dos is led off by the single “Stabby Mike.” Isom says of the song, “ ‘Stabby Mike’ was a joke that a friend and I had. He was like a dimestore hood. Back in the punk days, people had nicknames. I take something like that and tried to riff on it.”
He says of his songwriting philosophy, “I don’t write narratives. I try to write things that will have some longer-term poetic value, that aren’t tied to the times we’re living in. I try not to indulge in confessional songs. There are a light voice and a dark voice – different voices in my head – and I try to create some dialogic poetry in the writing.”
For some direction for the new recording, Isom – who grew up in New York, and played there with such acts as the garage unit Mooney Suzuki -- turned to his high school friend Braun.
“In New York, Jay played with a band called the Negatones, who were a pretty heavy punk outfit,” Isom says. “He ran a really great recording studio in Williamsburg called Melody Lanes for years. We know where each other are coming from, in terms of what I’m going for. Jay had always been saying, ‘Let’s do a record, let me come out there, I’ve got some ideas for how you can approach things a little differently.’
“Adrienne was really all about recording in the garage, too, and rejecting some of the way we’d been doing it. Previously we recorded our music in raw sessions, and then we’d take those into a big studio. On this, we recorded everything live. We wanted to be really organic.”
Nocona’s music reflects Isom’s eclectic ear. He says, “There are certain bands that have never gone out of my playlist: the 13th Floor Elevators, the Kinks, the Sonics, Link Wray. When I was in 7th grade, my cousins in Texas turned me on to the Minutemen and fIREHOSE and Can and the bands that were on the Nuggets boxed set, and also ZZ Top and Mississippi John Hurt and Elizabeth Cotton and Townes Van Zandt. Of course I love all the California country stuff, the bands that played the Palomino in North Hollywood. It’s all over the place.”
While working in New York, Isom met his wife-to-be, who is a native Angeleno. “Adrienne turned me on to X and some of the L.A. bands,” he says, “and that opened my eyes to the crazy aesthetic of L.A. One of the fascinating things about L.A. punk rock was that it was so much more engaged in rock ‘n’ roll and the blues and country.”
The Isoms – who played in New York, Austin, and Toronto before finally relocating to Los Angeles -- founded Nocona as a successor to their previous L.A. group, Paladino, with former Old Californio drummer Justin Smith, who like them worked regularly at the Grand Ole Echo, the city’s Sunday roots music showcase.
“Justin and I hit it off really well,” Chris says, “because we have the same garage rock backgrounds, but we also like a lot of the Americana stuff. He’s really a much more encyclopedic store of music than I am.”
The core members have found simpatico players in harmonica ace Elan Glasser, steel guitarist Dan Wistrom, and fiddler Xander Hitzig.
“I can’t give Xander and Dan enough credit for what they brought to the table,” says Isom. “Xander plays in a great band called the Hitzig Brothers – he’s a polymath, an amazing banjo player, an amazing mandolin player, guitar player. Dan’s the man. He approaches the pedal steel in an unorthodox way. He’s ready to go out in a crazy, psychedelic place that a lot of pedal steel players won’t go – it’s not their comfort zone if you want them to do super-weird stuff.”
The album also features the talents of the busy L.A. keyboardist Carl Byron.
Expansive, thoughtful, and hard-rocking, Los Dos is an exciting serving of forward-looking roots music.
Photo: Rob Shanahan
Check out our interview with Jimi Palacios on NOLA County Radio 102.3 WHIV FM! So cool to be included in such a great show! Our Interview starts around 1:14 🎙🎶🎧
“Kicking off with a acoustic strumming and punkish vocals, the song explodes into a grungy roots rocker with plenty of twang, making an impassioned comment on the current state of our society.” — Glide Magazine
"The group is releasing its third album, Los Dos, on July 10. Ditty TV Senior Editor Tim W. Jackson was curious about the new NOCONA album and this brand-new video for “Tabernacle Woes,” so he was able to touch base with Chris and Adrienne via the wonders of a video interview. Check out what the Isoms had to say."
Kim Grant KG Music Press
Brad Hunt WNS GROUP
Mule Kick Records
BOOKING + MANAGEMENT EUROPE
Renate von Löwis of Menar