Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, friends since high school and Generationals co-captains since 2008, have been in each others’ faces for most of this century.
Natural songwriting partners, they made their first three records at home with the help of mutual friend Daniel Black, and in 2013 they launched straight into their fourth with surprising post-tour energy, but after years of creative brain-melding, the dyad had reached a point of ultra-familiarity and comfort in their work routine that, to them, threatened quicksand. They began to suspect their own productivity of being rut in disguise.
Determined to keep things fresh, they sought out a new producer who might be able shake things up, surprise them, and bring something new to the project.
How about Richard Swift? they said. He’s the best, he's the boss, he’s like the John Keating of cool drum sounds–a perfect fit for a pair of poppy throwback tape-lovers like us.
The Louisiana duo made their way, yellow brick road-style, to Cottage Grove, Oregon, ready to give their tapes over to Swift’s cultishly venerated magic touch, but the collaboration was hardly the scrap-it-all, start-from-scratch, give-up-the-reins-and-let-the-guru-do-his-thing scenario Ted and Grant had expected—hoped for even—when they began their pilgrimage to Swift’s National Freedom studio in February.
Swift deemed the demos album-worthy after all and the original versions were saved at his urging. With a little tightening rather than a vibe transplant, the songs solidified into a cohesive, finished record.
The final version of Alix materialized as perhaps Generationals’ most confident record yet, full of history and as multiphase as Ted and Grant’s friendship.
Built up with layer upon layer of rhythmic lines, computer noises, RZA beats, and poppy vocals that sometimes sound like a Janet Jackson/Prince face-off, Alix is everything T&G like about music: old and new, vinyl and youtube, vocal chord and microkorg, gathered up from everywhere and arranged with great care into a good-smelling, subtly sexy, catchy-or-die mish-mosh of sensibilities and time-warp senselessness, lightly peppered with that signature Swiftian element, but undeniably Generationals in taste.