Maps & His Mothball Fleet

Maps & His Mothball Fleet2020-06-15T19:45:37+00:00

Project Description

Similar Artists: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Radio Dept., Freedom Fry

Matt Wanamaker went back to sea.

Following the release of 2016’s critically-acclaimed Fighting Season, a dusty collection of country-tinged pop songs recorded on a handheld tape machine in Afghanistan, the frontman for Maps & His Mothball Fleet headed overseas again on his second humanitarian aid mission. This time, posted on the coast of the Persian Gulf after a few months preparing along the Gulf of Mexico, he turned another year of isolation into another batch of new songs. The tracks that would become Gulf draw inspiration from those disparate regions while staying rooted in classic pop structures, this time more consciously relatable than the previous effort.

In our current, anxious times of quarantine and lockdowns, what’s more relatable than isolation, the gulf we feel between each other and the lives we knew?

RELEASES

“Coastal Living”
Release Date: June 29, 2020

Record Label: Azteca Records

a brilliant folk-pop exploration of human relationships, potent emotions, and the push and pull of a life at war.” — Atwood Magazine

Maps & His Mothball Fleet announces the release of the yacht rock single “Coastal Living” on June 29. The sun-drenched boy-girl harmonies flirt at summer romance within a melodic haze. “Coastal Living” is the first single off the upcoming album, GULF, due out on August 21 on Azteca Records.

Matt Wanamaker, the heart behind Maps & His Mothball Fleet wrote and recorded the vocals, percussion, and some acoustic guitar for a number of songs on a combination of his phone and handheld tape dictation while working overseas in Afghanistan in 2013. When he went back to sea again in 2018 he wrote over 50 more songs. “Coastal Living” is a warm sea salt kissed single born from those demos. Hayley Richardson joins Wanamaker in a bright call-and-response harmony telling the story of a beach hermit surprised with a love note from a lost love, urging him to take a risk and pursue her. Wanamaker paints a picture from a musical pallet shaded in sunset hues. 

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Bio

Matt Wanamaker went back to sea.

Following the release of 2016’s critically-acclaimed Fighting Season, a dusty collection of country-tinged pop songs recorded on a handheld tape machine in Afghanistan, the frontman for Maps & His Mothball Fleet headed overseas again on his second humanitarian aid mission. This time, posted on the coast of the Persian Gulf after a few months preparing along the Gulf of Mexico, he turned another year of isolation into another batch of new songs. The tracks that would become Gulf draw inspiration from those disparate regions while staying rooted in classic pop structures, this time more consciously relatable than the previous effort.

In our current, anxious times of quarantine and lockdowns, what's more relatable than isolation, the gulf we feel between each other and the lives we knew?

As with Fighting Season, the setting for Gulf is a solitary life of hard work all day and nights that are lonely and quiet. The holes left by boredom and solitude inspired a flurry of songwriting, and with his trusty handheld cassette machine pressed back in to service, Wanamaker again committed these ideas to tape, banging on a metal chair to keep the rhythm. Occasionally borrowing an acoustic guitar from the USO, Matt sang alone in whatever tent or shipping container he happened to be staying in that night, often whispering so he wouldn’t wake anyone. Not content to simply release overdubbed demos again, he was motivated to improve these songs in the friendly confines of a proper studio upon his return. This time, using the lineup that coalesced around the Fighting Season supporting tour and bringing in LA-based engineer Josh Ascalon (Mass Gothic, Hooray For Earth) to further shape the sound.

Mothball Fleets are collections of rusting Navy ships that are surplus to requirements, but kept afloat in case they may be needed later. In a similar way, the relationships rebuilt by the collaboration-by-mail process brought once shelved musical collaborations back to life for a follow-up album. Matt, nicknamed Maps by a young niece who couldn’t quite pronounce his name, named the collaboration after the concept of this wayward fleet. It is a celebration, but also the statement of an artist stepping forward in sonic ambition to improve upon the ideas that have served him well in the past. The end result is as much an album as it is a journal of those long months of coastal living far away from home.

The songs on Gulf offer an instant likeability that remains centered on a particular lo-fi aesthetic, prompted by the time and place for which it was recorded as much as by when it was embellished. This homemade aspect shows itself in places, but is more often hidden by the melodies and stories that Matt managed to produce all alone at night…once again adrift at sea.

“Fighting Season is a brilliant folk-pop exploration of human relationships, potent emotions, and the push and pull of a life at war.”

Mitch Mosk, Atwood Magazine

"One to watch"

Paul Lester, The Guardian

TOUR DATES