Under the Sun: Gordon "Violent Femmes" Gano's jangly and playful new solo album

My boyhood chum Paul Simcoe emailed me last week to sing the praises of the new Gordon Gano and the Ryans album Under the Sun. Paul and I grew up together, raised on the Violent Femmes (Gano's earlier band), and now that Paul's running Toronto's most excellent Criminal Records, he's a real treasure-house of kick-ass music suggestions.

Though the album isn't due out until Sept 1, Yep Roc, Gano's label, was kind enough to send me the album in MP3 form, and I've been seriously rocking to it ever since. It reminds me most of the Violent Femmes' underrated third album, The Blind Leading the Naked, with its mix of jangly, upbeat pop songs, semi-serious religious themes, and a few slow numbers that are more reminiscent of the track Good Feelings from the Femmes' eponymous debut album.

My standouts from this disc are Man in the Sand, Oholah Oholibah, Red, and Wave and Water, whose video was just released on YouTube (see above).

I don't usually review stuff far in advance of release date, but Under the Sun was worth jumping the gun for; I've scheduled this post to run again at the beginning of September to remind you that the disc is out.

Gordon Gano & The Ryans (Yep Roc)

(Thanks, Paul!)


  1. Thanks for the pointer. I’ll make sure to pirate it when it is released in September. (I love BoingBoing!)

  2. It’s interesting to me how no matter where I go or who I meet… as soon as Blister in the Sun comes on the juke/mp3/radio box, EVERYBODY usually responds or knows the words and sings along. Violent Femmes seem to be a common denominator for a lot of people… in North America at least. Anybody else remember the rumors that Gordon Gano had died in a motorcycle accident? Or maybe it was that he ate Pop Rocks and drank cola…

    But thanks for bring this new band to light. I’m glad Gordon is doing something new and this seems like quite a good band.

  3. Ah. Beautiful. Please remind when this is out or else I will forget and miss this wonderful album.

  4. Makes me think a little of Talking Heads.

    …and @5 I think Jonathan Richman puts ‘Cloyingly twee!’ on a fluorescent orange starburst sticker on every album cover as a selling point.

  5. I once saw the Violent Femmes by accident circa 1985/6 when they opened for John Cale at the Bottom Line. I hadn’t heard of them before, and when I went backstage to say hello to John Cale I accidently walked into their dressing room.

    Shit, I said to myself…who the hell are these hillbillies?

    Well those hillbillies rocked the house that night and really kicked ass.

  6. And Lou Reed stole from Bob Dylan who stole from the Appalachian folk musicians who stole from the Scottish and Irish traditional groups who shamelessly ripped off the French who borrowed heavily from the Turks. And it’s all great music, including Jonathan Richman and the Violent Femmes.

  7. This reminds me how The Femmes were good. And you’re so right “The blind leading the naked” is a pearl among the treasure of their discography.

  8. Solo? It looks like he’s got a full band in the video. I think that a “solo album” is a piss-poor way to describe what’s going on there. So what, all those other musicians don’t count because they weren’t in a band back in the 80’s?
    Language can be stupid sometimes.

  9. yep roc. My favorite label! Great stable of artists, humane business model and distribution system.

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