Local H will release their seventh studio album, titled Hallelujah! I’m a Bum on September 18th through Slimstyle Records. The 17-track, double-album was produced by Chicago metal guru Sanford Parker (Yakuza, Bloodiest, Pelican) and showcases the pioneering, two-man band rocking harder than ever. The album will be available digitally, on CD and on limited-edition double-vinyl. The first leg of Local H’s U.S. tour begins on release day with a hometown gig at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago. Full itinerary below.
Video of Local H in the studio with Sanford Parker at Engine Studios, set to a track from the new album – “Night Flight to Paris” — can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlMemzaOZyA
Hallelujah! I’m a Bum is an epic concept record that sees frontman Scott Lucas setting his sights on the deeply divided political climate that exists in the U.S. and around the world, using the Windy City as a backdrop to sardonically comment on how this polarization personally impacts people. From the El-train inspired “Blue Line,” in which Lucas sings “It’s getting hard to realize / A sense of self in other eyes / It’s us and them” to “Another February,” which uses the city’s brutal winters to paint a picture of anxious desperation within a family to the Peter Gun-riff of “Paddy Considine,” a song that mocks the middle-aged Travis Bickles and the hotheaded “conspiracy of toughs” roaming the streets of his hometown’s neighborhoods, the album examines how the national political discord affects people within their communities, their neighborhoods and even within their relationships.
“The last couple of records I’ve been involved with have been pretty inward-looking and navel gaze-y,” Lucas confesses. “And with so much going on around us – to keep making records like that is not only kind of embarrassing, but borderline irresponsible. On the other hand it’s still rock and roll – and no one wants to hear a bullshit polemic from me. The trick was to make the global as personal as possible and make it something everyone could relate to – regardless of who you vote for. We’re on the same side we’ve always been on – the people’s. Fuck – I don’t think a band can get much more blue collar than us…..unfortunately.”
Lucas often uses hot and cold to illustrate the divide. “Feed A Fever” skewers FOX News specifically and irresponsible media in general, while “Cold Manor,” the album’s first single, addresses giving in to cynicism and “checking out” politically, while the ruling class uses that apathy to push through its agenda.
A dog theme runs throughout the album, making it a fitting companion to the band’s widely praised 1998 concept album Pack Up the Cats, which earned a spot in SPIN magazine’s top 20 albums of that year. Hallelujah! I’m a Bum is Local H’s first album of new material since 2008’s critically acclaimed 12 Angry Months, for which the Chicago Tribune named them “Chicagoans of the Year,” more than a decade after their breakthrough hit “Bound for the Floor” ruled the Modern Rock charts.
Despite a four-year hiatus from recording, Local H has kept busy with two releases in the interim — Local H: The Island Years (a quasi-greatest hits that is part of Universal Music’s ICON series) and Local H’s Awesome Mix-Tape #1, an EP of covers. And, they’ve continued to bring their gut-quaking live show to audiences all over the country. In 2010, they put together the “6 Angry Records Tour,” during which the duo — Lucas covers both guitar and bass through an extra pick up in his guitar while drummer Brian St. Clair pounds out the rest of the sound — allowed a fan to blindly select the name of one of their six studio albums from a hat at the start of the show and then played the album chosen on the spot that night. To complement that, they embarked on “The Singles Tour: All the Hits All Night” in 2011, playing only songs they had released as singles, a contrarian move to the “play a classic album in its entirety” fad that was just heating up. Lucas has also spent time performing and recording country-ish, alt-rock for people who like metal with his seven-piece solo band, Scott Lucas & the Married Men, who guest on this album on the country-western sounding track “Look Who’s Walking on Four Legs Again.”