Limited Edition 45.
Nick Waterhouse grew up in a coastal town near Long Beach, CA. It was a serene setting: the ocean stretching out for miles to the North and South, manicured lawns, two-story homes, long swathes of concrete highway, fast food chains and mega malls. He was there for two decades. Then, he left.
He found a home in his early 20s in San Francisco, working at record stores
alongside a collective of likeminded young crate-diggers and 45 collectors.
And then he started making his own records: “Time’s All Gone” in 2012,
“Holly” in 2014, and “Never Twice” in 2016. These were evocative albums,
steeped in a perfectionism and clarity of vision that informed every choice,
from the studios to the players, the arrangements to the album art.
Everything, deliberately designed and purposeful, bubbling over with power
And as those records rolled out into the world, Waterhouse found a dedicated
audience of his own as well as a bevy of influential champions and collabora-
tors, including garage-rock mystic Ty Segall, retro-futurist R&B bandleader
Leon Bridges and the LA-based quartet Allah-Las, whose first two albums he
meticulously produced and played on. There is a “Waterhouse Sound” and it
comes from both the man and the method — recording everything on magnetic tape, through analog equipment, and playing live (!), eyeball to eyeball,
Now, he’s finished his fourth album. He’s calling it “Nick Waterhouse.” And
whether intentional or not, it is perhaps his most reflective — and reflexive —
album, employing all of the mature production techniques learned through-
out his professional career while retaining a viscous edge that allows it to land
with colossal impact — more raw, heavy and overtly confrontational than
anything he’s made before.
“Nick Waterhouse” was recorded at the finest working studio in Los Angeles,
Electro Vox Recorders, and co-produced by Paul Butler (The Bees, Michael
Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart), the master of all things warm, rich and wooly.
Nick’s songs here are personal, but personal in the way that “Please Mr.
Postman,” “What’s Going On” and “Cathy’s Clown” are — intimate, direct, yet
still malleable enough for listeners to suffuse their own life stories into the
mix. The album is thick with talented players, including Andres Rentaria, Paula Henderson and the staggering, howling saxophone of Mando Dorame.
All of the new Waterhouse songs sound big. Brawny and muscular. The lyrics
are suspicious, outraged and, at times, very vulnerable (muscle is just flesh,
after all). Waterhouse uses an economy of words to deliver complex, coded
messages. He offers up equal parts criticism of the time we live in and innate
human flaws. He paints relationships under the cover of darkness, slashing
through neo-noir fantasies that are romantic, blood-spattered and bracingly
aware of the powerlessness felt among people, amid the rapid onslaught of
commercialism and technological progress. And, as has become his
signature, he throws in a tune written by a close friend. On this record, he
covers “I Feel an Urge Coming On” in tribute to the song’s author, Nick’s own
mentor and collaborator Joshie Jo Armstead, who wrote music with Ray
Charles and sang as both an Ikette and Raelette in the ’60s and ’70s.
He’s four albums in, but it makes sense that this specific record is the one that
takes his name. You can really hear Nick on this one. Not just the band. Not
just the songs. Not just the sound. HIM. You can hear his mind at work. His
passion. His focus. More importantly, you can feel it.