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.
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.
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.
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.