Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes Talks Finished New Album, Lousy With Sylvianbriar

Of Montreal just finished its new album.

Frontman and creative nerve-center Kevin Barnes tells Crossfade that he wrote the whole thing in about three weeks on his first-ever, self-imposed "writer's retreat" in San Francisco.

After that, he returned to his Athens, Georgia, home and recorded it with his band in about two weeks.

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It's both a musical and stylistic departure from other recent efforts. It's deeply inspired by classic American rock 'n' roll. And it's called Lousy With Sylvianbriar, in reference to Sylvia Plath, of course.

If we're lucky, Barnes and Of Montreal will lay down some of that fresh material at Grand Central come Friday, May 3.

Basically, Barnes hid himself away in hilly San Fran and read a lot of Sylvia Plath's poetry. He dug really deep into bands like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Rolling Stones and spent most of his time alone.

"I could actually explore the city and get away from my comfort zone in Athens, just be a visitor somewhere, be an observer," he says. "It was great."

Maybe it was the ghostly vibes of Frisco's past leaking from Haight-Ashbury that inspired Barnes to make something he "might call Americana maybe" or possibly say is "kind of like outlaw country," though it's "not really country either" and definitely "not anything like the Eagles."

"I have a hard time describing it," he admits, "because in any genre, there's going to be a handful of really great, superinspired artists, and then there's going to be a shit-ton of terrible people who sort of ruin the genre."

Lousy With Sylvianbriar was recorded entirely differently from the past few albums as well.

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"It was very collaborative. We were all in the room together," he said. Barnes recorded previous albums mostly on his own, one instrument at a time. "We made it all on my tape machine in my home studio, so that was definitely different and special."

Of Montreal. Friday, May 3. Friday, July 5. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. All ages. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.

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