V-A-R-L-E-Y is the word; get lost in his world.
By Steffen Armstrong
V is for and only for Varley. That being Jon, a man and music Third Outing has been harbouring for a while. Well, keeping up our sleeves for the right time, more like. In early December we spoke to Varley through his release label Citrus City, and asked him much about his highly anticipated LP The Missing Kink. It's an incredibly thoughtful eleven track record which portrays the best sounds of happiness and sadness all at once, but always remains clean cut and incredibly fresh. For me, it's a guitar players record. Where does my head go? Two places. Firstly to the 60's, a time of real song writing and composition, and where the hollow toned Epiphone ES' rein supreme. Secondly, and I hate to make the obvious comparison, to our much mentioned friend Mac DeMarco. If this was the release of Another One, everybody would call it album of the year. Yes, it's that good.
"My guitar tone tastes were developing while this album was written from one of the bands I play in Painted Fruits. Clean tube amp with lots of reverb and a gentle dose of analog delay pedal".
A relationship is always a good place to start when it comes to song writing inspiration. Varley is no exception to the rule, with the leading track on the LP Suspended Girl (ii), for there are two versions on the record, being the main subject of Varley's world. Before anything let's say one thing. The track is brilliant. We could describe the intricacies, the guitar melodies, the meaning behind the lyrics "suspended girl lost in their world"; but let's just listen and see what Varley has to say...
"The song is about trying to be in a relationship with someone who overvalues literary ethos, who takes opinion as fact. 'For Whom I Have Eyes' and 'Fall' are about the same girl; 'Suspended Girl' (i) and (ii) are somewhat of a relationship-midpoint between the latter two".
Recording processes are clearly an important factor in the success of the record. It is a level up in production from the previous release S/T and really lends itself to the higher energy and fully fleshed out tracks. However, we appreciate that there is a sense of continuation, for S/T is a great record in its own right. The 'pop style' Varley incorporates in this earlier record continues and flourishes in the more laid back The Missing Kink, especially within the tracks Fall and Ear To Her heart.
"S/T was my first shot at analog recording and a great learning experience. The album is a snapshot of the early development of my pop songwriting. With both solo records, I wanted to create something that people could enjoy listening to at any time and connect with emotionally".
Last record. Though it's great to celebrate the release of new material, as just noted, S/T deserves a mention too, especially for those who will be discovering Varley for the first time through this feature. Though it offers another eleven tracks for us to discover, one of the stand outs has to be the solemn and beautiful Greyhound. Imagine if Pete Doherty was to cover Rocky Raccoon, it would sound something along these lines...
E-Meeting. As is the case with so many great artists from the other side of the world, if it wasn't for the middle man, by which we mean the go-getting, hard working and selfless Indie Record Labels who find great music from every corner of the globe, a magazine based in the UK would undoubtedly miss out on the music of Jon Varley from Victoria, BC, Canada. This time we pay tribute to Manny Lemmus of tape label Citrus City, based in Richmond, VA. It just shows that in this day and age, maybe it is all about the 'E-Meet'.
"Manny and I connected through the interweb. I was looking for someone to release this record outside of Victoria and remembered liking the music Citrus City had released. I think Manny heard an unmastered version of 'Suspended Girl (ii)' that was released on a Poisson Noir Don't Fall Collective compilation earlier this year. I sent him some versions of songs from the album and he was down to release the record".