Jon DeRosa
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Jon DeRosa

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
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"Jon DeRosa: Anchored"

DeRosa is a bit of a musical chameleon, releasing his material under a variety of guises, be it the guitar soundscapes of Aarktica (Terrastock alumni, Mason Jones of SubArachnoid Space features on an Aarktica remix album), the rocking, alt.country of Pale Horse and Rider, or the dark folk of Dead Leaves Rising. Jon celebrates his dozenth release with this 4-track EP released under his own name, and there’s a distinct 80’s vibe throughout. The title track is a dirgy lament that echoes The Cure and Echo and The Bunnymen at their most introspective, with perhaps a touch of Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized project trickling through. DeRosa’s sparkling guitar notes serpentine around Julia Kent’s superlative cello embellishment creating a warm, thousand-yard stare atmosphere.

The first thing you’ll notice about ‘Snow Coffin’ is Sam Lazzara’s big drum sound (an ‘80’s trademark), and the poppy, singalong track could have set comfortably on a Julian Cope album, both solo and his Teardrop Explodes material. ‘Ladies In Love’ is another tearful ballad, bleeding a mournful cello and reminiscent of his dark folk releases, but his tender voice lifts us above the somber backing and dreary imagery, which borrows a line from the poetry of serial killer, Charles Schmidt, the notorious “Pied Piper of Tucson.”

The set concludes with his interpretation of The Chills’ ‘Submarine Bells’, featuring tinkling vibes, Jon Natchez’ tearful horns, and delicate backing vocals from Lorraine Lelis. Overall, this is a perfect way to while away a dreamy, rainy afternoon. - Jeff Penczak - Terrascope (UK)


"Jon DeRosa: Anchored"

DeRosa is a bit of a musical chameleon, releasing his material under a variety of guises, be it the guitar soundscapes of Aarktica (Terrastock alumni, Mason Jones of SubArachnoid Space features on an Aarktica remix album), the rocking, alt.country of Pale Horse and Rider, or the dark folk of Dead Leaves Rising. Jon celebrates his dozenth release with this 4-track EP released under his own name, and there’s a distinct 80’s vibe throughout. The title track is a dirgy lament that echoes The Cure and Echo and The Bunnymen at their most introspective, with perhaps a touch of Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized project trickling through. DeRosa’s sparkling guitar notes serpentine around Julia Kent’s superlative cello embellishment creating a warm, thousand-yard stare atmosphere.

The first thing you’ll notice about ‘Snow Coffin’ is Sam Lazzara’s big drum sound (an ‘80’s trademark), and the poppy, singalong track could have set comfortably on a Julian Cope album, both solo and his Teardrop Explodes material. ‘Ladies In Love’ is another tearful ballad, bleeding a mournful cello and reminiscent of his dark folk releases, but his tender voice lifts us above the somber backing and dreary imagery, which borrows a line from the poetry of serial killer, Charles Schmidt, the notorious “Pied Piper of Tucson.”

The set concludes with his interpretation of The Chills’ ‘Submarine Bells’, featuring tinkling vibes, Jon Natchez’ tearful horns, and delicate backing vocals from Lorraine Lelis. Overall, this is a perfect way to while away a dreamy, rainy afternoon. - Jeff Penczak - Terrascope (UK)


"Jon DeRosa: Anchored"

Aarktica leader Jon DeRosa steps up with a limited edition four-song EP influenced by Robert Wyatt, and the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan with hints of Spiritualized and Echo and The Bunnymen. The title cut unfolds at a heroic saunter, the melody haunting, uplifting, enigmatic. Joined by percussionist Sam Lazzara, whose presence is as integral to “Snow Coffin” as DeRosa’s own, plus cellist Julia Kent, violinist Claudia Chopek and several other players, Anchored never wavers from excellence. Some never write four songs of consequence in their entire careers; DeRosa has delivered that many in one sitting. The Nick Drake-cum-Scott Walker “Ladies In Love” suggests we have plenty to look forward to once DeRosa releases his first solo full length album later this year. – Jedd Beaudoin, PopMatters - PopMatters


"Jon DeRosa: Anchored"

Aarktica leader Jon DeRosa steps up with a limited edition four-song EP influenced by Robert Wyatt, and the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan with hints of Spiritualized and Echo and The Bunnymen. The title cut unfolds at a heroic saunter, the melody haunting, uplifting, enigmatic. Joined by percussionist Sam Lazzara, whose presence is as integral to “Snow Coffin” as DeRosa’s own, plus cellist Julia Kent, violinist Claudia Chopek and several other players, Anchored never wavers from excellence. Some never write four songs of consequence in their entire careers; DeRosa has delivered that many in one sitting. The Nick Drake-cum-Scott Walker “Ladies In Love” suggests we have plenty to look forward to once DeRosa releases his first solo full length album later this year. – Jedd Beaudoin, PopMatters - PopMatters


"Raised on 4AD & Danzig: The Dark Pop of Jon DeRosa"

On A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes, the forthcoming album by Jon DeRosa, you’ll notice a kinship with Children of Scott Walker like Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker, hints of John Cale’s Paris 1919, and maybe even some connection to John Doe of X. It’s easy to call this chamber pop, but it’s much more textured than that. It’s also hardly surprising that the guy’s Wikipedia page says he grew up in the heart of Misfits country (Lodi, New Jersey) idolizing Glenn Danzig. That leads me to believe he’d probably do the most killer cover of “Blood and Tears” you’ve ever heard.- Jason Diamond, Emusic - Emusic


"Raised on 4AD & Danzig: The Dark Pop of Jon DeRosa"

On A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes, the forthcoming album by Jon DeRosa, you’ll notice a kinship with Children of Scott Walker like Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker, hints of John Cale’s Paris 1919, and maybe even some connection to John Doe of X. It’s easy to call this chamber pop, but it’s much more textured than that. It’s also hardly surprising that the guy’s Wikipedia page says he grew up in the heart of Misfits country (Lodi, New Jersey) idolizing Glenn Danzig. That leads me to believe he’d probably do the most killer cover of “Blood and Tears” you’ve ever heard.- Jason Diamond, Emusic - Emusic


"Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover reviews "A Wolf In Preacher's Clothes""

“If you want reviews in Big Takeover, your chances improve mentioning The Chameleons in your bio. First you have to know who they were; and those that value them tend to make artistic, pretty music. Even if his promo’s Scott Walker reference is more helpful to unlock dapper DeRosa’s locker (like 1969’s Scott 3 and 4), with a spin of a Divine Comedy, Amanda Brown-era Go-Betweens, or 1984 Julian Cope combination,
this holds true for A Wolf. I.e., it’s unlike the singer/songwriter’s significant catalog with darkwave stalwarts Dead Leaves Rising and atmospheric guitar dronesters Aarktica. Light, fluffy strings are constant highlights, as are chamber pop, piano-lit quiet spaces, ’40s moody lounge ambiance, and DeRosa’s romantic crooning. An orchestral pop nod to Eric Matthews’s trumpet fanfares on the opening “Birds of Brooklyn” is also salutary. Sit, relax, nip a highball, and… listen. - Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover - Big Takeover


"Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover reviews "A Wolf In Preacher's Clothes""

“If you want reviews in Big Takeover, your chances improve mentioning The Chameleons in your bio. First you have to know who they were; and those that value them tend to make artistic, pretty music. Even if his promo’s Scott Walker reference is more helpful to unlock dapper DeRosa’s locker (like 1969’s Scott 3 and 4), with a spin of a Divine Comedy, Amanda Brown-era Go-Betweens, or 1984 Julian Cope combination,
this holds true for A Wolf. I.e., it’s unlike the singer/songwriter’s significant catalog with darkwave stalwarts Dead Leaves Rising and atmospheric guitar dronesters Aarktica. Light, fluffy strings are constant highlights, as are chamber pop, piano-lit quiet spaces, ’40s moody lounge ambiance, and DeRosa’s romantic crooning. An orchestral pop nod to Eric Matthews’s trumpet fanfares on the opening “Birds of Brooklyn” is also salutary. Sit, relax, nip a highball, and… listen. - Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover - Big Takeover


Discography

Jon DeRosa

A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes / Mother West (2012)
Anchored CD EP / Silber Records (2011)

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Bio

Jon DeRosa (b. 21 December, 1978) is a guitarist, composer and singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. Raised in the small shore town of Manasquan, NJ, DeRosa grew up idolizing Glenn Danzig. In his early teens, while studying classical and flamenco guitar and memorizing the entire output of 4AD and Projekt Records, he began writing and recording music. Although DeRosa had been involved with several musical projects by the time he turned eighteen, his dark folk/goth band Dead Leaves Rising was the first of his endeavors to draw national attention and continued to garner acclaim until it was disbanded in 2002.

In 1998, DeRosa lost nearly all hearing in his right ear. The accompanying aural hallucinations inspired DeRosa to start Aarktica, a mostly instrumental, guitar-based atmospheric project that still remains active over a decade later. Aarktica’s debut release No Solace In Sleep (Silber Records, 2000) was described by George Parsons of Dream Magazine as “…songlike as a sedated Durutti Column, or as ectoplasmic as Flying Saucer Attack sleepwalking through Windy & Carl’s home movies of their trip to Iceland.”

In the difficult years following his hearing loss DeRosa began studying Indian classical vocal music with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. His studies with them (and later, Michael Harrison) would be particularly influential to DeRosa and affect all of his musical output from that time forward.

Around the time of Aarktica’s 2003 release Pure Tone Audiometry, Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote, “Aarktica’s songs are extended reveries, built on loops of guitars and drums and occasional voices. The musical elements hover and circle, float by or bristle with distortion as the songs drift through serenity and trouble.”

Throughout the 2000’s, DeRosa continued performing and releasing music as Aarktica, in addition to playing guitar with New York City chamber pop ensemble Flare. DeRosa also briefly recorded under the name Pale Horse and Rider, releasing two albums of urban country songs during this time. Rob O’Connor at CMJ remarked “DeRosa’s not unlike the downcast end of Springsteen. ‘Jersey Coast Line’ [from 2002’s These Are The New Good Times] could very well be Nebraska‘s 11th track.”

In 2006, DeRosa lent his voice to Stephin Merritt’s opera “The Peach Blossom Fan”, as the role of Hou Fang Yu. Some of his contributions were first featured on Merritt’s Showtunes album (Nonesuch, 2006). “The Peach Blossom Fan” became available in its entirety in 2008 (Nonesuch).

DeRosa continues to record as Aarktica, his most recent releases being 2009/10’s In Sea and In Sea Remixes.

In 2011, DeRosa unveiled his first eponymous release, the Anchored EP. Novelist Ed Park said of it: “At first, Jon DeRosa’s Anchored EP, a quartet of gorgeously layered chamber-pop shanties, seems leagues away from the voluptuous Lovecraftian drift he perfected under his moniker Aarktica. But there are dark spaces here, too, room to brood in the sweet gravel of his voice, in Julia Kent’s penetrating cello lines, and in the quiet violence of the lyrics. With a depth that belies its brief running time, Anchored is so perfect that it literally gives you the chills.”

In May 2012, DeRosa released his debut full-length A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes, both in digital and vinyl format, produced by Charles Newman (Magnetic Fields, Gospel Music).