Today, California rock band ALO share their highly anticipated, spirited ninth studio album Silver Saturdays out everywhere now, including a limited run of clear 180g vinyl, via Brushfire Records. Get an exclusive look at the making of the forthcoming album as the band brings listeners behind the scenes here.
Alongside the full project, the band shares the latest single and video, "Growing Your Hands Back" out everywhere now. Next week, ALO will hit the road on the Tour d'Amour XVI around the Western U.S. with support from Rainbow Girls on several dates, and other dates featuring Hot Buttered Rum, ORGŌNE, Ron Artis II and The Moore Brothers. Tickets are on sale now.
Silver Saturdays, the band's bright ninth full-length album out now, celebrates an ongoing journey that began in Saratoga, California in the late eighties when Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz (guitar/vocals), Zach Gill (keyboards/vocals) and Steve Adams (bass/vocals) met in grade school. It stands out as the first full-length studio release featuring drummer/vocalist Ezra Lipp—a fixture in the Northern California creative scene where he cut his teeth with the likes of Phil Lesh, Sean Hayes and countless others. Meanwhile, the title nods to the band’s recent penchant for silver attire at their Saturday shows, which became a costume theme amongst their fan base and an acknowledgment of their silver “25th” anniversary.
Today, the band shares "Growing Your Hands Back" is a unifying moment and captures the warm feeling of seeing old friends again after a long time apart. Gill explains, “'Growing Your Hands Back'” is about losing your wherewithal and through a process of revelation and self-discovery, growing it back. The lyrics were partially inspired by an old folktale called The Handless Maiden." Gill continues, "For me, the “hands” in this song are being used for clapping and playing musical instruments, for sharing drinks and giving hugs and high-fives to old friends, after a long time apart. It’s a song of finding your way back to the primordial campfire of joy and group revelry, after a long, hard time away."
Alongside the track, the band shares its accompanying video directed by the bassist of Fruition, Jeff Leonard. Leonard enjoyed creating the video and found ways to incorporate lyrical meanings throughout without being too on the nose. Leonard says, "When making found footage videos, I’ve come to see the importance of not only finding clips that match the feel of the music, but also add another level of context to the lyrics, without being too literal." On his favorite shot, he adds, "I especially loved using the clip of musicians gathered around a piano for the line “gathering ‘round a fire," –the piano being a sort of hearth."
The release of the full album follows the previously shared uplifting "Sparrow" and the irresistible "Hot Damn," with videos each directed by Deren Ney (Tom Petty, Grace Potter, Marcus King). "Sparrow" celebrates the power music has to make one feel understood and its ability to carry one through a difficult time. Explaining the meaning behind the track, Lebo shares, "Who amongst us has not been knocked to the floor, or lifted to the clouds by the power of a song that hit them at just the right moment in their life? 'Sparrow' is an ode to this goddess of music. She is not bound by time or space, and she always shows up right on time... but only if you let her.”
The first taste of the project, "Hot Damn" is a feel-good track that alternates between moments of lush instrumentation, fluid fret-simmering guitar leads, and a hypnotic high register-inflected hook perfect to sing along to with the windows down (and funkified enough to move and groove to!). It highlights both their musical intricacies and downright undeniable knack for a chorus. Keyboardist and vocalist Zach Gill explains, "'Hot Damn' is the eureka moment, the soulful epiphany, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As we behold our respective treasures, be they love, wisdom or an actual chest full of gold, we say to ourselves “Hot Damn!” Relix lauded that the track is a "feel-good bop [that] flows between fluid instrumentation, simmering guitar rips and an earworm of a hook, ideal for connecting the band with just about any crowd."
Recorded at Sun Machine studio—nestled in the hills of northern Marin County, CA—the album is a fully collaborative effort written by the band and co-produced alongside longtime engineer David Simon Baker. For Gill, Lebo, Adams and Lipp the session was both a return to their roots and a new beginning ¬– a chance to reconnect and immerse themselves in the creative process.
“There’s always a moment in the making of an ALO record when we ask ourselves, “Why make another record?” Gill reflects, “For me, the answer comes in waves over time. It has to do with the spirit of musical adventure and the rhythms of laughter. It’s about the sweet release of a Lebo guitar lead over an Ezra drum beat as Steve and I weave the bass and keys around each other. Call it a jam, call it a song, call it a feeling, but it has to do with connection. For me, it feels like coming home.”
Lebo adds, “It’s a palpable feeling when the four of us are in a room together creating music—having our individual sound waves collide as they transform and morph into one before even getting captured by the microphones. My hope for the listeners of ALO’s 'Silver Saturdays' is that they get to experience a bit of this invigorating feeling—and better yet, that it stirs up some inspiration of their own!”
The result is ten new original songs, recorded mostly live, that pay direct homage to the journey and the artistic process and further refine ALO’s singular and self-ascribed “jam-pop” genre—which Lebo fondly describes as “human music for humans.”
The sounds captured on Silver Saturdays are fresh and mercurial, but they are also fun, thoughtful, dreamy and articulate. All four members lend their distinctive lead and background vocals throughout. Their concise, meticulously-crafted songwriting and storytelling is interwoven with Lebo’s soaring, seemingly effortless leads as he draws impossible, ever-evolving tones from his signature acoustic-electric guitar. Gill’s tasty comping on keys and Adams’ bass groove perfection provide deep pockets sewn by a lifetime of mutual experience, and Lipp’s jam-informed rhythmic flourishes breathe new energy into the mix while also maintaining stylistic continuity with ALO’s earlier body of work.
Next week, the band will don their best silver and set out on the Tour d’Amour XVI – to support the release and celebrate 25 years together – with good friends Rainbow Girls, Hot Buttered Rum, ORGŌNE, Ron Artis II and The Moore Brothers joining on various dates.
The Tour d'Amour XVI kicks off on March 10 & 11th with two consecutive dates at Crystal Bay Club in Crystal Bay, NV. The band will then make its way through California for six dates including Belly Up in Solana Beach and The Fillmore in San Francisco. At the end of March, the band will play Portland, OR's Doug Fir and complete the tour in Seattle, WA on April 1st. Tickets are on sale now via alomusic.com/#tour.
Silver Saturdays, the ninth studio album by ALO is out everywhere now via Brushfire Records along with the latest track and video, "Growing Your Hands Back". Plus, a limited run of clear 180g vinyl is on sale now here. Watch the making of the album with an exclusive behind the scenes look here. Hear the new music and longtime fan favorites as ALO put on their best silver suits and celebrate 25 years on the Tour d'Amour XVI across the West Coast beginning next week with tickets on sale now. Find ALO on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to stay up-to-date with the four-piece.
Listen: "Hot Damn"
Watch: "Hot Damn" (Official Music Video)
Watch: "Sparrow" (Official Music Video)
Watch: Behind The Scenes of Silver Saturdays