John Moremen's Flotation Device
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John Moremen's Flotation Device

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"John Moremen's Flotation Device"

John Moremen's ability to pull vintage sounds out of the air served him well as a sideman for beloved Bay Area indie pop outfits like the Orange Peels and Jad Fair. But on his new instrumental album, "Flotation Device," the Washington, D.C., native goes solo in every possible way, composing all the songs and playing the guitars, bass and drums. He probably even emptied the recording studio's trash containers himself. With surf guitar icon Dick Dale serving as a guiding light, the music on Moremen's latest is built on creeping bass lines, refreshingly unadorned rhythms and reverb-drenched rockabilly riffs that occasionally creep into prog territory. It feels reverent without being retro, which just might be Moremen's specialty. - Aidin Viziri, Feb 19, 2012

- San Francisco Chronicle



John Moremen's Flotation Device (Mystery Lawn Music, 2012)
Vertical (2002, released 2007 PopStatic)
John Moremen EP (Bus Stop Records, 2002)
And The Sun Shines (PopStatic 1997)
Punch Me In - (re-released 2007 PopStatic)
John Moremen - (re-released 2007 PopStatic)

THE ORANGE PEELS (drums, guitar)

"So Far" - (SpinArt, 2001)
"2020" - (Minty Fresh, 2009)


MX-80 - We're an American Band (Family Vineyard, 2005) - drums
High Vulture - 17 (Curator, 2005) - drums
Victor Krummenacher - Nocturne (Magnetic, 2003) -vocals
The Moth Wranglers - Never Mind The Context (Magnetic, 2001)-guitar
Alison Faith Levy - My World View (Magnetic, 2000)-drums, guitar
Swingers Serenade-soundtrack for the film by Danny Plotnick, 1999-guitar player in The Snugglers (with Alison Faith Levy, Gil Ray, Jon Birdsong, Miles Montalbano)
Alison Faith Levy - "The Fog Show" (Magnetic,1998) -drums, guitar
Ray Roche - Jump Don't Wait (1996) -guitar
Jimmy Silva & The Goat 5 - Near The End of The Harvest (Popllama, 1995) -drums
Alison Faith Levy - Grumbelina (Piece of Mind, 1994) -drums, guitar
The Revellaires/Kevin Johnson - Pop of Ages (Top, 1990) -vocals
Half Japanese - Charmed Life (50 Skidillion Watts, 1988) -guitar
Hyaa! - "Hyaa" (Fountain of Youth, 1985) -drums


BayPop 2002 (Footsie Records, 2002) John Moremen & Paul Myers collaboration---previously unreleased song: "All The Time"
Bobby Fuller Four-Ever! (#9 Records, Japan, 1999) Cover of "Don't Ever Let Me Know"
Fireworks Vol. 2 (Sound Asleep, Sweden, 1998) 2 previously unreleased songs: "Surround You" & "All In your Mind"
International Pop Overthrow 1 (Del-Fi, 1998) "Together Again" (From the Sun Shines EP)
BamBalam Power Pop Explosion USA (BamBalam, Spain, 1996) 3 songs: "Will You Ever Come Down" (from solo demo cassette), "I've Been Everywhere" (w/The Connect Four), "Comeback" (Neighbors)

Instrumental pieces for SF modern dance troupe SQUAD:
Debt (Thick House, 2001)
Leisure (Dancers Group Studio, 2000)
Background (Dancers Group Studio, 1998)

Theme music for monthly radio show -"Youth Radio on KQED" (1998)



John Moremen is almost impossible to explain. A session-man, side-man, band leader and collaborator extraordinaire, the San Francisco musician has recorded with experimentalists Half Japanese and MX-80, backed legendary Flamin' Groovies front man Roy Loney, written with The Minus Five's Scott McCaughey and fronted his own bands. And that's alongside over a decade as a member of Bay Area popsters, The Orange Peels, first as their drummer and now as their lead guitarist. Yet none of that explains what he does on "Flotation Device," where he navigates surf, NRBQ-esque roots rock and Monk-like bop with a deft hand.

In the spring of 2011, Moremen started working on some instrumentals for fun, but over the course of a few months found himself completing over 20 songs. After each one was finished, Moremen would post them online as a work in progress.

"I was kind of going back to something I did when I was in my teens, where I would come up with these instrumentals and then as quickly as possible, sit down and record the drums, guitar and bass. The whole process from writing to recording was almost instantaneous," Moremen says. "It was a routine I had and it was a really fun thing for me and I wanted to tap into that again."

Soon friends and fellow musicians were asking whether he was actually making an album. Working with producer (and Orange Peels band mate) Allen Clapp, the two mixed, mastered and sequenced fifteen of the songs into "Flotation Device."

"John is too ridiculously talented. Everyone knows this," Clapp says. "Flotation Device is like what it must be like inside John's head: Thelonious Monk, Robert Fripp, Jimmy Page all hanging out on the San Francisco coast..."

Performing all the instrumental parts on this album, Moremen freely navigates between drums, bass and guitar while never losing site of the end goal: songs that move, shake and rattle with palpable energy. From "Stay Inside," which refers to his theory about listening and learning music to "Outta Here," motivated by the homerun call of San Francisco Giants announcer Duane Kuiper, while "Skybar" is a little musical candy bar with its separate sections. Call it 21st century mood music; call it a West-Coast guitar freak-out; call it what you will —Moremen is entirely at home in the grooves of this album.

"John is great at everything! If I were a guitar player I'd try to play like him. Every time I hear him play he blows me away! If I lived 500 miles closer, I'd play in his band for free. You have to hear his new record; it's a favorite around this household" – DJ Bonebrake, drummer, X

"People brag about their triple threats (guys who can sing and dance and act). I've run into some triple threats in my life. They're common compared to John. He's like a quintriple threat or an octangle threat. He can play any instrument, play every song, write great music and most of all, hang out. There are lots of musicians, but most of them aren't the kind of threats that can do everything. You could hold a quadripple threat contest open to all the big name rock stars and the smart money and all my savings would go on John" – David Fair, founder, Half Japanese

"John Moremen is a consumate musician. In the course of knowing him, I've watched him helm multiple stringed instruments and drums, all of them well. If you know how to play any of them, you know it's not an easy task. And if you know about being a veteran, which John is, you know it's easier to sometimes just come home from the day job and hang it up. John doesn't do that, he keeps at it, and then he comes up with something like the Flotation Device, which show's growth, inventiveness and a desire to do anything other than tread water. John has real talent up his sleeve, and he cares about it, and I wish there were more musicians like him around" – Victor Krummenacher, Camper van Beethoven, Cracker