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“World Blanket boomed like a big-riff rock beast, despite acoustic guitar and violin dressing.” – SPIN
This love of edgy, emotionally driven music with over-the-top traditional production values and classic orchestration is the driving force behind the upcoming World Blanket album 2012 (April 3rd, No Applause Records). Joining Mike Pomranz on 2012 is violinist Katherine Fong, a Julliard trained member of the Metropolitan Orchestra (she has also worked with everyone from John Mayer to Tony Bennett), and bassist Dean Moore (formerly of Jive Records band Dirty Blonde). On drums is Jonathan Flax (also with Freedy Johnston), a co-worker of Pomranz’s at Comedy Central where Pomranz writes for the “Tosh.0” program and earned the credit as the first to post and subsequently create the Rebecca Black “Friday” phenomenon.
The connection notwithstanding, 2012 was not recorded with Ark Music Factory, but with Pete Min, the man behind the boards for the recent hit album by The Airborne Toxic Event. Min had yet to hear the songs for 2012 when the sessions began and the players barely had either. “We met up for two rehearsals and then the four of us got on a plane for L.A.,” reveals Pomranz. Min wasn’t amused. “On our third take, he stopped the tape and asked us if we had ever played together before. It was a real kick in the ass.”
The ass kicking worked. 2012 expands on World Blanket’s established mandate of coaxing a huge sound out of acoustic guitars and violin by leaning on a big rock rhythm section and filling the gaps with some well-placed timpani strikes, a few bars of electric guitar and for three songs, the Calder Quartet which has previously contributed strings to The National, Vampire Weekend, Andrew WK, and many others. “The song ‘Snooze Bar’ was recorded with only the quartet and me on acoustic guitar and vocals,” says Pomranz. “It’s a very Beatles-esque, ‘Yesterday’ arrangement.”
The release of 2012 in 2012 is not just a coincidence. “The record is based around the writings and philosophy of psychedelic drug guru Terence McKenna,” explains Pomranz. “Growing up, I became engrossed in McKenna’s writings, and his perspectives about seeing life in a different light really hit home with me.” Explaining the specific connection to the year “2012”, Pomranz elaborates, saying, “One of McKenna’s best known theories is one that predicts a major transformative event occurring on December 21st, “2012” and this record, both lyrically and musically, is constructed as a preparation for that transformative event, encouraging listeners to come to terms with their own existence and prepare their minds for whatever may lie ahead.” Pomranz is connected to the numbers inherent in the album’s release date as well. “April 3rd happens to be the date of Terence McKenna’s death and also my birthday.”
With the pending release of 2012, Pomranz has been able to satisfy a love of making rock and roll that had taken a back seat to his life of making comedy. It was meant to be though – if a teenager’s basement reveals a hidden guitar, it’s probably for a reason. 2012 by World Blanket will be released on the band’s own No Applause Records label on April 3rd, “2012”.