Kevin Devine Announces Stripped Down Album
We Are Who We’ve Always Been
Out October 20th via Procrastinate! Music Traitors
Streams “I Was Alive Back Then” feat. Half Waif
Announces Album Shows In New York
photographer credit: Shervin Lainez
Kevin Devine has just announced We Are Who We’ve Always Been, a stripped down reimagining of his 2016 release Instigator. The album was produced by longterm collaborator Chris Bracco and features guest performances from Swivs, The Mynabirds and Half Waif. Devine is premiering the first track from the record “I Was Alive Back Then” featuring Half Waif now via Stereogum. We Are Who We’ve Always Been is set to be released on October 20th via Procrastinate! Music Traitors and Triple Crown Records. Pre-orders for the album are available now via Procrastinate!. A quote from Kevin Devine on the record can be found below the break.
Kevin Devine has also just announced two shows in Brooklyn, NY in December. The first show, on 12/14 at The Bell House will feature Kevin Devine playing We Are Who We’ve Always Been and his 2003 record Make The Clocks Move. The second show, on 12/16 at Music Hall Of Williamsburg, will feature Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band playing Instigator in full, as well as his 2006 album Put Your Ghost To Rest. Both shows will feature TBA special guests. Tickets are available now. These are Kevin’s only currently scheduled solo shows following his recent announcement that he’d be joining Brand New as a touring member for the foreseeable future. More information and a full list of dates can be found below.
Hear Kevin Devine’s stripped down “I Was Alive Back Then” featuring Half Waif.
“Part according to plan & part in reaction to circumstances beyond our control blowing that plan up, I ended up doing nearly as much touring solo as we did full-band on Instigator, which, in its original presentation, was mostly a pretty full-on fuzzy power-pop record. It’s always fun & challenging figuring out ways to present the songs in each format so they feel equally compelling; with Instigator, I found the songs really felt like they made sense both ways, and ended up demanding an alternate presentation to highlight different strengths. It was, as always, a treat tackling that alongside Chris Bracco, my longest-standing creative collaborator, responsible here for production, mixing, and art design.
For the three songs that were already acoustic in presentation, we decided to build around piano/synth/other voices, and bring in three excellent friends way more qualified than I am to do that credibly. Will Schalda, who performs as Swivs and plays with Charles Bradley & Budos Band, handled “Freddie Gray Blues;” Laura Burhenn, who plays as the Mynabirds and has toured as a member of Bright Eyes & The Postal Service, transformed “No One Says You Have To;” and Nandi Rose Plunkett, who plays as Half Waif & is a member of Pinegrove, opened up “I Was Alive Back Then.” They all absolutely and uniquely killed it.
I think the record stands as its own document, has its own voice, and completes the full story of these songs. I hope you feel the same.” – Kevin Devine
09/23 – Philadelphia, PA – Xfinity Live!
10/07 – Lowell, MA – Zorba’s Music Hall^
12/14 – Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House*
12/16 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall Of Williamsburg%
! = w/ Taking Back Sunday
^ = A Celebration Of Jack Kerouac
* = Kevin Devine plays We Are Who We’ve Always Been and Make The Clocks Move
% = Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band play Instigator and Put Your Ghost To Rest
We Are Who We’ve Always Been Tracklisting
1. No Why
3. Magic Magnet
4. Freddie Gray Blues (Feat. Swivs)
5. No History
7. Both Ways
8. No One Says You Have To (Feat. The Mynabirds)
9. Guard Your Gates
10. Before You’re Here
11. I Was Alive Back Then (Feat. Half Waif)
For the past 15 years, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Kevin Devine has oscillated between intimate acoustic moments and bombastic rock songs, but his new release, We Are Who We’ve Always Been, tilts the pendulum far toward the former.
We Are Who We’ve Always Been, produced by long-term collaborator Chris Bracco & due out October 20 via Brand New’s Procrastinate! Music Traitors label, features reimagined, acoustic versions of songs from Devine’s beloved 2016 album, Instigator, which was produced John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) and also released on Procrastinate! Music Traitors.
Featuring guests Swivs (on “Freddie Gray Blues”), The Mynabirds (on “No One Says You Have To”) and Half Waif (on “I Was Alive Back Then”), these 11 reimagined songs allow the intricacies and inimitable honesty of Devine’s masterful songwriting to take center stage in a new way. The new versions showcase the artit he is in 2017: equally adept at producing goosebump-inducing moments with walls of distortion as with a solo acoustic guitar.
It’s been a through-line for the entirety of his much-lauded career, but perhaps never as prolific as right now: In addition to recording two albums with Bad Books (the indie-rock supergroup he formed with members of Manchester Orchestra), he released the Kickstarter-funded double-album collection Bubblegum and Bulldozer in 2013 along with the wildly ambitious 2015 Devinyl Splits 7” series with the likes of Brand New’s Jesse Lacey, Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves and Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws.
Devine is a master storyteller, and he imbues this collection with intricate details and often-uncomfortable truths. The meanings are personal, but the themes are universal. It’s a skill that makes both his albums and his live show so alluring: Even when Devine’s writing about the world at large, he’s pointing a mirror back at himself.
And when Devine’s past lives meet his present-day self on the career-defining “I Was Alive Back Then,” the beautiful duality of his art takes center stage: Life is never all peril or perfection, a country ripped apart by political divisiveness or the joy of holding your child for the first time. The extremes might be easier to define, but it’s in the middle where life really happens.
“That’s how I write records,” he says. “You want to write about real shit. It’s really trying to communicate what I think it’s like to be me—even though I don’t know that all the time—and in the process help people touch a little closer what it’s like to be them, too.”