The Ah announces sophomore album ‘Mere Husk’ + shares new track ‘Watermelon Tears’

The Ah press photo
Photo credit: Jesse Harris

The Ah has announced his sophomore full-length ‘Mere Husk’ will be released on January 31st via NNA Tapes and as a taster of the album, the lead single Watermelon Tears is out now. The single provides a glimpse into the imaginative and playful solo work of Jeremy Gustin, a sought after drummer, musician and composer who has worked with David Byrne, Albert Hammond jr, Kimbra, Delicate Steve, Rubblebucket, Marc Ribot, Sam Amidon, Daniel Rossen, and many more.

Jeremy also shared thoughts on creating the track: “I knew I wanted to add sounds or samples in the middle section and I experimented a lot with no luck. Ironically, as the songs title has tears in it, laughter seemed the best fit for the track. But having one person laugh wasn’t quite right so I started experimenting by adding baby’s, old people, and even some animals laughing. Somehow that seemed to work. Perhaps watermelon tears are the kind of tears you get when you laugh really hard. Sweet tears.”

You can listen to Watermelon Tears via YouTube below.

Jeremy Gustin is a one-of-a-kind drummer who has toured and recorded with Rubblebucket, Okkervil River, David Byrne, Marc Ribot, Delicate Steve, and Albert Hammond Jr.. He has long been in demand for his ability to bring a touch of the unorthodox to highly structured and improvised musical settings alike, so it should come as no surprise that on his own solo project, The Ah, Gustin explores the outer boundaries of his imagination to the fullest.

The Ah’s new album ‘Mere Husk,’ the follow-up to 2017’s ‘Common Bliss,’ sees Gustin once again crafting animal noises, water sounds, miscellaneous found audio, and his own playing into a harmonic language that straddles the line between his love of pop songcraft and his equally strong attraction to the abstract. Rather than employ gurgling fish tank bubbles and dolphin calls for their ambient properties alone, for example, Gustin bends them beyond recognition so that they mimic synths or serve the role of instrumental parts in an arrangement that falls together like a classic “song” — whether Gustin includes vocals or not. “I love songs and melody,” says Gustin. “As much as I like unusual stuff, I’m a song guy at heart.” 

Gustin’s longtime passion for photography gives us a window into The Ah’s animated sonic universe. Whether he is out touring or just walking home from the grocery store, his eye is constantly drawn to the interplay of color, texture, and shape calling out to him from surfaces the rest of us might pass by without so much as a glance. A typical Gustin photograph captures what he refers to as “Foundscapes”: for example, multiple layers of posters on a Tribeca wall stripped and frayed to form an unintended collage; chipping paint rendered in such three-dimensional detail that it seems to invite your fingers to run across its contours; delicate veins of copper rust slowly eroding on a dented expanse of bright blue. 

In several respects, The Ah is Gustin’s musical answer to his visual Foundscapes. “When I’m writing music,” he explains, “I look at it as something akin to archeology. It’s not like ‘This specific thing happened to me so I want the music to sound a specific way.’ It’s more like I’m chiseling away until a shape emerges and it starts to seem like music. In a way, I let the music create itself. I don’t even see it as I’m creating so much as I’m just finding things. These materials are all around us all the time.” 

As intuitive as Gustin’s process may be, ’Mere Husk’ expands dramatically on the vision introduced with ’Common Bliss’. Though twirling from playful to solemn and back again, Gustin’s music is as easy to take in as watching the myriad shades of colorful marine life swimming through an aquarium. 

The release of ‘Mere Husk‘ will be celebrated in conjunction with Gustin’s forthcoming photography book Foundscapes (being released with 11A Records) at Brooklyn NY’s Step Bone Cut on February 1st.Mere Husk’ is available for preorder here, with a limited quantity of the album and book available as a bundle.

The Ah Mere Husk album artwork

‘Foundscapes’ Book Release & ‘Mere Husk’ Listening Party
Step Bone Cut, 229 Cook St., Bushwick, NY
Saturday February 1, 2020
8pm – Tickets