NOCONA: LOS DOS
Chris Isom: Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Adrienne Isom: Bass, Vocals
Justin Smith: Drums, Vocals
Elan Glasser: Harmonica
Dan Wistrom: Pedal Steel Guitar
Xander Hitzig: Fiddle
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.
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 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. 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.”
Featuring 10 new originals written by Isom, and a track, “Post Apocalyptic Blues,” penned by Isom and co-producer Braun. 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. The Isoms – who played in New York, Austin, and Toronto before finally relocating to Los Angeles — founded Nocona 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.
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.