Video premiere: The Black Watch, ‘Drip, Drip, Drip’

The Black Watch

“Fromthing Somethat” is not a mere tongue-twister, or one of those NPR word puzzles. It’s the title of the new album from the Black Watch, their 19th overall and second full-length this year. Like its predecessors, it’s more of the same yet a little bit different: Dream-pop-cum-shoegaze filled with irrepressible melodies, wry wordplay and a smiling pessimism. Indie-rock made for salon nights.

The captain of the Black Watch’s musical regiment is John Andrew Fredrick, author, former English professor, closeted misanthrope and giver of tennis lessons. He’s been feeding the sporadically voracious appetites of fans of ’80s/’90s guitar music since the end of the Reagan Administration and shows no sign whatsoever of the fatigue one might associate with being terminally underappreciated.

On “Fromthing Somethat,” the follow-up to March’s “Brilliant Failures,” Fredrick is surrounded by much of the same excellent cast: brothers Rob (keyboards, bass, guitars) and Andy (drums) Campanella and guitarist Andy Creighton (the World Record), along with backing vocalists Lauren Tannenbaum and Julie Schulte. Remarkably, the new album was recorded without a single rehearsal; Fredrick brought the songs in and the band ran through them a couple times, then overdubbed the extra parts.

Ian Holmes’ ladies-and-gentlemen-we-are-floating-in-effects video for “Drip, Drip, Drip” captures the magnetic (thanks to its intoxicating bass line) but opaque nature of the track, which Fredrick himself reviews better than we could:

“‘Drip, Drip, Drip’ pretty much encapsulates the sweet-sour nature of TBW, I suppose, and my own pessimistic hopefulness,” he says. “Plus some puns, as is our wont — some subtle and some quite not-so.

“Those who know us seem to love to point out that the Black Watch isn’t really a band; and that it’s just a front for me solo. OK. Kinda true. And yet I manage to organize working with the greatest indie musician/producers in Greater L.A., and then sort of make them honorary members of the band: Rob Campanella deserves so much credit for this track, and for ‘Fromthing Somethat’ itself — an album many of the indie cognoscenti are calling ‘the record of the year.’

“Which is at once super flattering and super humbling. As I’m admittedly quite outspoken about music, everyone thinks I hate everything, that I’m this unmitigated curmudgeon, but it’s just that I can’t stand dilettantism and ’60s revisionism and synth duos that just formed yesterday at a coffee klatch in Highland Park and young bands that seem not to have done their homework, as it were.

“As [‘Drip, Drip, Drip’] is sort of dark and murky and was written on acoustic guitar (with my characteristic strange tunings and capos), I expect this track evokes a Beggars Banquet band from San Francisco we greatly admired and played with from time to time — an outfit called Swell that I urge all you music lovers to look up, look into. Someone who used to review records for CMJ, a fellow artist and Angeleno, just opined on Facebook (apropos of us) that he ‘never understood the Black Watch — they never seemed to be part of any scene.’ He’s right, you know. And I’ve never been able to abide scenes (another pun, however egregious) of any sort.

“‘Drip, Drip, Drip’ is the sort of song that I personally want to hear from time to time — so I dreamed it up and put it down on … well, not tape. Who can afford to record to tape these days?!”

The album, by the way, will be followed up by “The Nothing That Is” EP, out Nov. 20, featuring a remix of the single from the album and three new tracks.

||| Watch: The videos for “Drip, Drip, Drip” and “Such Like Friendly Demons”

||| Previously: “Brilliant Failures,” “Crying All the Time,” “Get Me Out of Echo Park,” “Julie,” “Georgette, Georgette,” “Way Strange World,” our 2015 interview.

||| Also: Stream the album in its entirety