Finding yourself; something that many people struggle with no matter what age. One can go to great lengths to do so, from taking soul searching sabbaticals, to something more localized like taking up yoga to tap into their spirit.
For New Jersey indie singer-songwriter Jonah Tolchin, he found himself by letting go of the rules he initially set when making music. The result- his new and fifth album, Lava Lamp, which hit streaming services July 15.
Co-produced with multi-instrumentalist/engineer Nic Coolidge, the album was recorded with a three-piece that included Coolidge on bass and Tolchin’s longtime friend and collaborator Kevin Clifford on drums.
Featuring seven new songs and two covers (“Car You Drive” by Josh Flowers and Tom Petty’s “Grew Up Fast”), the album shows Tolchin in a new light. The songs are raw and emotional, and deal with alienation and escapism in the modern world.
Tolchin takes claim of his eclectic musical roots, as he grew up listening to everything from alternative rock to hip hop to punk. Where his previous work had often been weighty and deeply introspective, the songs he found himself penning for Lava Lamp were more coy and irreverent, drawn from uninhibited stream-of-consciousness writing sessions.
Tolchin began revisiting some of the albums he first fell in love with as a kid from artists like The Strokes and Gorillaz among others. Though he’d put that kind of music aside for much of the past decade in favor of the Godfathers of Blues like Muddy Waters and Lightnin’ Hopkins, it all soon came rushing back into his life, allowing the creative floodgates to open wide.
“I decided I was going to just let myself write without caring about what I’m ‘supposed’ to sound like or what anyone else would think,” says Tolchin. “I wanted to see what would happen if I started with a completely blank page.”
Tolchin’s upcoming tour schedule is sparse at the moment, but keep an eye out for more potential dates to come.
By Joe Del Tufo