British punk collective the Mekons embrace the unreal nature of Joshua Tree in the video for their new song, “Lawrence of California.” The track will appear on the group’s forthcoming album, Deserted, out March 29th via Bloodshot Records.
“Lawrence of California” is centered around a thumping drum groove and a swaggering cow-punk riff, both of which anchor crackling swells of horns, feedback and the Mekons’ brash gang vocals. The accompanying video is set in the desert around Joshua Tree – where the Mekons recorded Deserted – and matches the song’s uncanny aesthetic with a mix of psychedelic effects.
Deserted marks the Mekons’ first formal studio album since 2011’s Ancient and Modern 1911 – 2011. In the years since, the group has released a variety of projects including 2015’s Jura, a collaboration with Robbie Fulks, 2016’s Existentialism, which was recorded in real-time with the help of a full audience, and 2018’s It Is Twice Blessed, which was made by the group’s 1977 lineup and released under the moniker, Mekons 77.
In a statement, Mekons co-founder Jon Langford said of Deserted, “The idea was to go to a brand new studio our bassist the Baron had set up just outside the Joshua Tree national park in Yucca Valley CA and see what happened – we were in the middle of a hectic tour and had been attempting to write material first by email and then in the van… Most of what we wrote was abandoned after arriving at the Los Gatos compound. The desert is not unlike the ocean (just drier) and equally inspirational to old pirate punk rockers. The harshness of the environment, the bold and embattled plants and creatures that live there are metaphorical for us perhaps.”
The Mekons will embark on a world tour in support of Deserted, starting with a European run in April. The band’s North American leg kicks off July 14th at the Hideout in Chicago, Illinois and wraps July 25th at Tractor Tavern in Seattle, Washington.
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Deserted Track List
1. “Lawrence of California”
2. “HARAR 1883”
3. “In the Sun/The Galaxy Explodes”
4. “How Many Stars?”
5. “In the Desert”
7. “Weimar Vending Machine/Priest?”
9. “After the Rain”
Mekons North American Tour Dates
July 14 – Chicago, IL @ Hideout
July 15 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
July 17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Warhol Entrance Space
July 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
July 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
July 22 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
July 23 – Big Sur, CA @ Henry Miller Library
July 24 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
July 25 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern