Ramona Falls Announces 2013 Winter US Tour

Article Contributed by Tell All Your … | Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Like most of us, Brent Knopf watches a lot of YouTube videos, only he’s not watching kittens playing piano. Rather, his tastes err on the more experimental side of things—like people who attempt perpetual motion machines using magnets. “I love that they’re trying to harness an endless supply of energy,” says the Ramona Falls frontman, “and that they go against conventional wisdom in the hopes of true discovery.”Which is exactly what Knopf did last year, when he decided to quit the acclaimed art rock trio Menomena and devote his time to one epic, personal vision. “False freedom is the ratification of pre-rigged choices,” the musician paraphrases the philosopher Noam Chomsky, “while true freedom is the agency to shape the choices themselves.” But as Knopf is learning now with a full-time focus on a former side project, freedom comes with greater risk. Prophet, the second Ramona Falls album, is sonically, lyrically and thematically brighter. It’s also more organic and personal than anything he ever contributed to Menomena, or as the singer/multi-instrumentalist explains, “it’s more of a rapid transit line between my sleeve and my heart.”“With Ramona Falls I am exploring what I stand for which makes it more personal to me,” Knopf admits. “I’m less worried now about being made fun of, than I was before. I can now say things I believe in, and some people may think it’s stupid or cheesy...but that’s kind of fun. I would much rather speak from the heart than hide behind impenetrable obfuscation.”That emotional honesty and creative fearlessness is certainly paying off. Prophet is an album that recalls the experimental beauty of Laughing Stock by Talk Talk, and the unabashed earnestness of his old labelmates Death Cab For Cutie. Knopf appreciates those highly regarded comparisons but when pressed for the true inspirations that fed into his overall vision, he cites Martin Gore of Depeche Mode’s dark chordal elements, a production style halfway between Tears for Fears and the Homosexuals, and lyrical themes that channel a dyslexic Jorge Luis Borges if he starred in Flowers for Algernon.Recorded with bandmates Paul Alcott (drums, and also, ironically, Knopf’s replacement in Menomena), Matt Sheehy (guitar), and Dave Lowensohn (bass) and featuring guest appearances by four other friends, the stunning album begins with “Bodies of Water,” an emotive and rousing anthem about how intimacy bundles together both nourishment and peril. “Spore,” a heartfelt highlight of Prophet bears a substantive core: “I like the idea of someone refusing to feel lonely, despite how utterly alone they might actually be,” Knopf explains. “It’s a form of rebellion.” But the 11 tracks are not all exercises in introspective fragility; “Brevony” is Knopf’s most unleashed moment with gnarling guitars ambushing the listener at the chorus on all sides.Prophet, the album’s title, is an homage to Knopf’s religious upbringing, a titular reference to a worldview that reveres exalted seers who assert meaning despite the chaos. But as the newly empowered songwriter has discovered with Ramona Falls, it’s a better strategy to embrace the chaos. And then refashion it into a beautiful noise.Tour DatesJan 23 MINNEAPOLIS, MN , 7th Street EntryJan 24 MADISON, WI , FRZN FEST at High Noon Saloon *Jan 25 IOWA CITY, IA, Gabe's *Jan 26 CHAMPAIGN, IL, Mike N Molly'sJan 27 GRAND RAPIDS, MI , Pyramid SchemeJan 29 PITTSBURGH, PA, BrilloboxJan 31 HAMDEN, CT , The Outer Space ^Feb 01 NORTHAMPTON, MA , Iron Horse Music HallFeb 02 BROOKLYN, NY , Glasslands Gallery ^Feb 06 BALTIMORE, MD , Golden West CafeFeb 07 HOBOKEN, NJ , Maxwell'sFeb 09 PHILADELPHIA, PA , Johnny Brenda's $Feb 10 RICHMOND, VA , The CamelFeb 12 CHAPEL HILL, NC , Local 506 #Feb 13 CHARLOTTE, NC , Snug Harbor #Feb 14 ASHEVILLE, NC , Emerald Lounge #Feb 15 ATLANTA, GA , Masquerade: Purgatory Stage #Feb 16 NASHVILLE, TN , High Watt #Feb 18 DALLAS, TX , Club Dada # %Feb 19 HOUSTON, TX , Fitzgerald's: Upstairs # %Feb 20 AUSTIN, TX , The Mohawk: Indoors #Feb 22 EL PASO, TX , Lowbrow Palace #Feb 23 TEMPE, AZ , Yucca Taproom #Feb 24 SAN DIEGO, CA , Kensington Club #Feb 25 SANTA ANA, CA , The Constellation Room #Feb 26 LOS ANGELES, CA , Bootleg Bar #Feb 27 SAN FRANCISCO, CA , NOISE POPat Brick & Mortar Music Hall #Mar 01 PORTLAND, OR , Doug Fir Lounge #Mar 02 SEATTLE, WA , Tractor Tavern ## - with Social Studies% - with Calm Blue Sea^ - with Mitten* - with Wild Belle$ -  w/ Ape School