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Release Details

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China

And Then Nothing Happened
(Royal Oakie Records)
Release Date: February 22, 2019

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And Then Nothing Happened is the new album from Bay Area folk-rock band China. Fronted by singer-songwriter Michael James Tapscott and rounded out by bassist and songwriter Jeff Moller, guitarist Jacob Aranda, and drummer Raphi Gottesman, the band will be familiar to many music fans for their involvement over the years in groups such as Sugar Candy Mountain, Odawas, Paula Frazer & Tarnation, Papercuts, Sonny & the Sunsets, and more. More revisionist than revivalist, the band takes its cues from classic artists like Neil Young, The Byrds, and The Band, and reinterprets those classic sounds through the lens of the last 30 years of indie rock and underground music.

Working on the same vintage MCI console from Muscle Shoals that Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, and Cat Stevens used, producer David Glasebrook recorded the band live-in-the-studio to analog tape in order to capture the natural chemistry of the group. The band was encouraged to experiment and use auxiliary instrumentation to bring their new songs to life with distinctive character—‘Bitter Sailor’ paints its refrain with mandolins like some lost sea shanty, and ‘Carnations’ is buoyed by a horn section straight outta Memphis, meanwhile Side B opens with a psychedelic swirl of sound.

Once again, the collection of songs revolves around the cinematic songwriting that has become the band’s trademark. This time the characters are a bunch of beautiful losers caught in a freeze frame hovering somewhere between mundanity and epiphany like something out of a Raymond Carver story. In the album’s opening track ’Marnie’ the narrator looks back at a love that’s gone but not forgotten, wondering if it’s really all over for good; on the title track ‘And Then Nothing Happened’ the narrator comes to terms with his broken dreams and the reality of a life where there’s nothing left for him after last call.

After each listen, the takeaway slowly sinks in, like a starry eyed revelation on an all night drive. These songs are about all of us, our uncertainty and doubt, our successes and failures, our struggle to find meaning in a world that’s often meaningless. And there’s something beautiful to that, like carnations springing up from a cracked concrete sidewalk or a couple of friends staggering home from the local bar.


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