Interview with Secret Decoder Magazine

In the midst of his recent European tour with Lydia Lunch, Jon sat down with Adam Pearson in Berlin to talk about everything from Aarktica to the recent solo album to what’s ahead in 2014…


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EXCLUSIVE: DeRosa’s new single “Signs of Life” available for free download this week only via The Believer

Via The Believer:
Though Signs of Life channels the yearning of Roy Orbison and moodiness of Scott Walker (also interviewed in this month’s Believer), hints of Danzig’s dark specter can also be heard in DeRosa’s somber baritone.

Link to article and download here.

Big Sexy Noise & Jon DeRosa European Tour Dates 2013

September 18 NO-Oslo, Mir *JUST ADDED!*
September 19 DK-Copenhagen, KB18
September 20 DK-Aalborg, 1000 Fryd
September 21 DK -Esbjerg, Konfus
September 22 DE-Hamburg, Hafenklang
September 23 DE-Köln, Sonic Ballroom
September 24 DE-Duisburg, Steinbruch
September 25 DE-Erfurt, Museumskeller
September 26 DE-Berlin, Wild At Heart
September 27 DE-Hamburg, Reeperbahn Festival @ Hasenschaukel

From the Reeperbahn site: “Jon DeRosa turns out to be a brilliant crooner, while cello and horns make for a big portion of pathos.” Read the full details here.

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A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes limited edition vinyl still available: Mother West Records
CD available on Rocket Girl Records via Darla Records in the US / Rough Trade in the UK
For updates and performance schedule: Jon DeRosa on Facebook and Twitter.

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Flipside Magazine (UK): “Spankingly superb!” / Happening Magazine (UK): “a post-punk Sinatra”

Read the full Flipside review here:

“What does strike you is DeRosa’s capable crooning. Sounding not unlike a teen-idol and writing like a stalwart, this man is equal parts Neil Hannon, Richard Hawley, Scott Walker (the ’60s version), Bobby Darin and DeRosa himself…”

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Read the full Happening review here:

“In essence, A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes is a beautiful collision between the dark dreaminess of Echo & The Bunnymen, and the orchestrated pop ballads of the 50s and early 60s, polished off with some natty 40s vocal styling – all of which has influenced 33-year-old DeRosa down the years. Mostly sombre in tone, the album also reveals flashes of pop perfection, such as opener ‘Birds of Brooklyn’, which manages to walk the wobbly line between being instantly agreeable yet understated enough to avoid a sugary aftertaste.”

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New York Music Daily: “One of the most haunting and intriguing albums of 2012″

Excerpted below, read the full review here:

“Jon DeRosa’s latest album A Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes is sort of the missing link between Jarvis Cocker and Leonard Cohen…This one finds him alternating between dark, lushly crooned, Scott Walker-inflected chamber pop and more minimalist, postpunk-tinged, distantly creepy rock. Violinist Claudia Chopek’s string arrangements – also featuring Julia Kent on cello – are to die for, a rich, velvety chocolate truffle for the ears. Overhead, DeRosa’s nuanced, cat-ate-the-canary baritone lingers, sometimes ominous, sometimes with more than a hint of rakishness. And he paints a hell of a picture…”

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Limited edition vinyl still available: Mother West Records
CD available on Rocket Girl Records via Darla Records in the US / Rough Trade in the UK
For updates and performance schedule: Jon DeRosa on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Skinny (UK) reviews A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes

Read the full review here:

When Jon DeRosa croons “don’t say goodnight” in the song of the same name – his rich voice tempting an unnamed companion for one last drink in an emptying bar-room – the soulful seduction puts into images A Wolf…‘s overriding atmosphere. Continuing the romantic night-music style established on last year’s Anchored EP, DeRosa’s first album under his own name confirms the New Jerseyite as an estimable find.

Both lyrics and delivery of “True Men” convey vintage interests (name-checking Robert Mitchum and William Holden and smoothly singing “I’ve played the part, I’ve played the fool” like a lovesick Sinatra), as does a smoky, jazz-flecked version of The Blue Nile’s “Easter Parade.” Elsewhere, there are echoes of Stephin Merritt (with whom DeRosa worked on Showtunes) and Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, so while it would be a push to describe this as a unique record, it’s no exaggeration to call it an excellent one.

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SoundsXP reviews A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes

Read the full review here:

A strong strain of pop classicism and a certain quantity of melancholy runs through this record. DeRosa’s deep, resonant voice reminds you first of Scott Walker and Richard Hawley but it’s not fanciful to go further back, to singers like Sinatra and Tony Bennett, especially when you hear DeRosa on his versions of the Blue Nile ’s ‘Easter Parade’ or the LD Beghtol song ‘Who Decides?’ The literate chamber pop – ‘True Men’ references Robert Mitchum and William Holden and is the source of the album’s title – puts you in mind of Stephin Merritt’s work while the orchestration is well-sourced, featuring a host of players including cellist Julia Kent from Antony & the Johnsons and Jon Natchez on trumpet. It’s a far cry from DeRosa’s ambient-pop project Aarktica.

Wolf… resurrects classic pop tropes, avoiding cliché or parody; ‘Say Goodnight’ is a lovesong with an unsalacious twist while ‘Teenage Goths’ is an insistent showtune despite the quirky title. But the standout song is the opening track; ‘Birds of Brooklyn’ is like the 60s as interpreted by Echo and the Bunnymen, accompanied by strings and brass, comfortably straddling the decades so that it sounds both classically old and glisteningly new. As a taster for the record, fans of the Magnetic Fields, Richard Hawley and late 60s Scott Walker (Scotts 3 and 4) should make a date to hear it.

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“Snow Coffin” on WNYC Soundcheck / Rockwood Music Hall Sunday November 4th

Jon DeRosa is featured in this week’s WNYC Soundcheck blog!

For nearly fifteen years, Jon DeRosa has written and recorded ambient works and sometimes shoegazey instrumental soundscapes under the name Aarktica. [Full disclosure: I contributed to one of those albums, years ago]. Now, he’s shed the pseudonym and stepped up to the mic. The Danzig-loving songwriter presents like a post-punk Sinatra on his new album A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes — a record that was self-released last year, and is now getting wider distribution. But this musical shift is not as dramatic a turn as it sounds.

On songs like “Snow Coffin,” — featuring cellist Julia Kent — DeRosa crafts brooding arrangements under a noir storytelling sensibility. And with lyrics like “Got a knife, got a hunting blade too…Not much time before she awakes in my snow coffin tonight,” DeRosa tells a chilling tale of wintry violence with a disarming sweetness.

Visit WNYC Soundcheck online to download “Snow Coffin” off the album A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes, available November 5th throughout Europe on Rocket Girl Records!

And if you’re in the NYC area, Jon and his full band will be performing Sunday, November 4th at Rockwood Music Hall! Advance tickets and show information available here.

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Leonard’s Lair reviews A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes

From Leonard’s Lair in the UK:

“Upon encountering Jon DeRosa’s music, courtesy of last year’s Anchored EP, it was hard not to draw parallels between his journey and that of Richard Hawley. Both were largely unknown for their vocals in the early part of their career and then came to the forefront as modern day crooners some time later. A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes is DeRosa’s first album and one wonders why his voice was hid away for so long.

The New Yorker’s delivery is rich, expressive and elegant like The Divine Comedy‘s Neil Hannon when he wasn’t being too theatrical.’Birds Of Brooklyn,’ ‘Ladies In Love,’ and ‘Teenage Goths’ revel in 1960′s classy trappings and ‘True Men’ harks back to the crooners of at least a decade further back. There’s even a respectful and very lovely cover of The Blue Nile‘s ‘Easter Parade,’ which emphasises the stark beauty of the original but also introduces a tender American viewpoint.

However, as it happens, DeRosa impresses most on the most modern-sounding material.’Snow Coffin’ came from the earlier EP and stands out for its light but insistent post-punk rumble whilst excellent last track, ‘Hollow Earth Theory.’ emphasises his indie songsmith credentials. A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes is undoubtedly a classy album and the arrangements wisely put DeRosa’s vocals to the forefront. Having said that, if more risks were taken and he concentrates on post-1980′s styles and beyond, DeRosa could be pushed into levels of further greatness.”

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Dagger Interview / PopMatters gives Wolf… 8 out of 10

Jon had the chance to sit down with Tim Hinley of the great Dagger Zine to talk about growing up like a Lost Boy on the New Jersey Shore, heading to homeroom straight from the Limelight, Aarktica & Dead Leaves Rising, and going solo on the new album.

Read the interview here.

Also, one of our favorite music writers Dave Heaton gives A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes 8 out of 10 in PopMatters in one of the album’s most insightful reviews yet:

…A Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes has cover art that’s somewhat reminiscent of the cover art for Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely (1959), and is a sophisticated pop record with strings and piano and more of a crooner’s vocal style than on DeRosa’s previous works. Really though, the Danzig and the post-punk and goth and ambient influences are all here still, just smoothed over into something which often resembles a late-night, cocktail-drinker’s moment of bittersweet reflection..

Read the full review at PopMatters here.

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Blurt Magazine Gives A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes 9 Out Of 10 Stars

As if praise from Jack Rabid at Big Takeover last week wasn’t enough, this week the great Tim Hinley (of the beloved and long-running Dagger) gives A Wolf… 9 out of 10 stars. Check out the full review below or at Blurt Online here.

Jon DeRosa
A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes

I recently had told a friend, who knows DeRosa, that the guy looks like Danzig, to which my pal laughed and said he needed to tell him (he also referred to him as “a real solid dude, a great guy”). As it turns out, DeRosa was born in Lodi, NJ, where Danzig began The Misfits, but was raised in the Jersey Shore town of Manasquan (being a Jersey Shore guy myself, Ocean City, N.J., I surfed there once). I had heard DeRosa’s more ambient project, Aarktica, and wasn’t completely impressed (also, Pale Horse and Rider, another one of his musical projects) but upon hearing his Anchor ep from last year, I spotted some serious talent – also good taste, as he covered The Chills’ “Submarine Bells” – which leads me to believe that I should revisit some of those Aarktica records. One thing is for sure: DeRosa needs to release more records under his own name. So far he’s batting .1000!

On the opening cut, “Birds of Brooklyn” you’re immediately struck by the smoothness of his deep voice; think Scott Walker, Leonard Cohen and, to a certain extent, Nick Cave. The intriguing melody and swooping orchestration bring home a winner. Same with the stunning “True Men” in which DeRosa namechecks both Robert Mitchum and William Holden amidst a swirling backdrop of crying strings. “Teenage Goths” kicks the tempo up into 3rd gear with a choppy, start/stop cut that melds into a dancing melody (same with “Who Decides?”), while “Easter Parade” gives it the neatly-trimmed tag of chamber-pop with DeRosa’s croon in full effect. And on “Ladies in Love,” well, there won’t be a dry eye in the house by the song’s end.

If anyone’s listening, this will end up on several best of 2012 lists – including my own. – Tim Hinley/Blurt

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