by Jesse Richman, edited by Erik van Rheenen
The holidays are a time for indulging in the comfort of nostalgia, for burrowing deep into whatever “home” means for you. The four song The Xmas EP sounds exactly like what one might expect a Never Shout Never Christmas album in 2013 to sound like, and that’s a good thing — for an artist who’s earned a reputation for never making the same album twice, it’s a welcome, comforting surprise to see Christofer Drew exploring his own well-trod territory for once.
"Winter Wonderland" features the sort of loopy psych-folk that Drew has dabbled in since Time Travel; "Everything Is Cool," a less well known John Prine track, gets a spare banjo-and-harmonica arrangement that calls back to Harmony. And "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" splits the difference, as vocals swirl in eddies around a gently plucked banjo and sleigh bells.
Indeed, the only real disappointment of the batch is the lone original, “Under The Mistletoe,” a duet with one-time tourmate (and, later, The Voice runner-up) Dia Frampton. Drew and Frampton’s voices pair sweetly, but the chorus never quite comes together — some unusual chord choices, while intriguing, leave the track feeling a little more “experimental” than “sentimental;” what would generally be a virtue winds up jarring on an EP otherwise comprised of holiday standards.
Never Shout Never just kicked off their holiday tour. Check out their set list from the tour below after the jump.
Never Shout Never released The XMAS EP yesterday, and PropertyOfZack is happy to be hosting a Track-By-Track feature for the EP today. Read what Christofer Drew had to say about the release below!
POZ Interview: Never Shout Never
This song has always stuck out to me as a genuine, romantic holiday tune. It also has really fun chords and a classic melody. It was super fun to do a jazzy take on it.
Everything Is Cool
This may be my favorite xmas song of all time. It’s by one of my favorite singer/songwriters John Prine. The lyrics are poetry and the chord progression is twelve bar blues. It was super fun to do my take on it. Uke and banjo being the backbone, and a fun acoustic solo to add some flavor.
Under The Mistletoe
This one was such a treat to write and record. It is also the only original on the EP. I got the pleasure of working with my friend Dia Frampton on it. We wrote it in a mere two hours in a grassy field Griffith park on a sunny day. We then recorded the next day! It was such a blast writing with dia. She is as sweet as it gets!
Never Shout Never are gearing up to release The XMAS EP tomorrow, and PropertyOfZack recently did a great interview with frontman Christofer Drew to catch up on everything revolving the release and his future. We spoke with Drew about Never Shout Never’s 2013, a solo album, working with Warner Bros again, Eatmeraw, Gonzo, and more. Read the interview below!
Never Shout Never finished up Warped Tour and got a little quiet until the announce of The XMAS EP. When did you start thinking about doing the holiday EP?
The idea sprouted when we went down to Mexico in August. We kicked around the idea and it took. I had some spare time at my place and I’ve collected some studio gear over time, so I ended up doing it in my house. It turned out really cool. It was a relaxed kind of deal. My buddy ben engineered it and we just went to town on it in my bedroom turned studio.
Fans seem excited about it.
I think so. We’ve gotten some good response. It’s a Christmas EP, you can’t really go wrong.
2013 was an interesting year. Never Shout headlined Warped Tour and released Sunflower eight months after the release of Indigo. It’s rare that bands release two albums within a year of each other, but it was also your fourth album in four years. Was there a reason for getting Sunflower out so soon?
I had the songs laying around. The main reason we wanted to get it out was because we were just ready. The other guys probably care less, but I get so restless once I put something out. I just get ready to put out the next thing. I’m over the last thing and ready for something new every time a release date hits. I start writing a dozen songs and planning out the next release right after the previous one. The main reason was out of fun. Sunflower was a relaxed recording process. We just recorded it quick and as a three-piece. We didn’t tune vocals or do special work to it. We just wanted to get as minimal to our live sound as possible. It was emancipating from where we were. Our last two records were very produced compared to our old stuff. We wanted to make a record that was to the point.
You carried that into Warped. A lot has changed for the band since the last time out on Warped. Did that experience go better than you expected?
We didn’t have one bad experience on Warped. We had great crowds and people were nice to us - enough time has passed. Overall, Warped was a really great experience. I walked away super satisfied and stoked that we did it. I think it was a great thing for the band. We would do it again. It’s showed we’ve matured a little bit and aren’t as, lame.
Like you said, you always are ready for the next release. We’ve seen that you’ll be doing solo material next. How is that different from Never Shout Never considering Never Shout originally started as a solo project.
Stylistically, Never Shout is going in more of a rock direction. My solo stuff is acoustic-reggae. They have totally different vibes. I grabbed all my studio gear and moved out to Topanga Canyon and am working on it right now. I have twenty songs I’m demoing out. It’ll be a full record. I’m putting something extra into this one. I’ll be working with a producer and will be getting the major label back involved too for this one to get their two-cents in it as well. That’s why I’m demoing out all the tracks to pick the gems. It’s super exciting. I’m stoked it’s reggae, too. I’ve always been a big fan, but I never felt like Never Shout should go in that direction even though we’ve tried everything else pretty much. It’s not over the top, it’s just that I enjoy the backbeat and I love the good vibes of it. It’s still acoustic based with everything else being built around it. The lyrics are super positive and feel good as well. It’s upbeat.
With Never Shout, we’re going in a White Stripes direction almost. Kick ass, minimal indie rock stuff with some acoustic story-telling songs as well. They’re definitely different.
The last two Never Shout records only came out on Loveway, not Sire. How is that all working?
Back in 2011, after Time Travel came out… I signed to Warner Bros for the staff that I signed with when I was 17. Everyone was really cool - the president was awesome and he was my bud over there. I was really excited about the label staff and A&R. They were more artistic driven, but in 2011 they went through an entire staff change. I ended up going over there and not liking anybody there. They were all totally different. Part of my idea with Warner was to have an imprint through them, and that’s Loveway, which is still through Warner music group. It’s what we did for the last two records instead of them taking their full cut on this on their 360 deal, which is still pretty chill.
Never Shout Never have posted a studio video of the tracking for “Meet Me Under The Mistletoe” with Dia Frampton. Watch it below after the jump.
Never Shout Never have released “Meet Me Under The Mistletoe” meeting Dia Frampton. Stream the track below after the jump.
Never Shout Never are preparing to release a new album in 2014, and it’s going to be old school/rock n’ roll influenced. Check out a full interview with Christofer Drew here and part of it below after the jump.
Never Shout Never are releasing a new EP on November 25th and are heading out on tour as well to celebrate the release. PropertyOfZack is teaming up with the band for a contest to give away free tickets and VIP packages to fans. The contest will end on November 28th, so find out how to enter below and check out ticket links here just incase you don’t win!
To win the Never Shout Never contest you much do each of the following things:
Dates for the tour are below: