New Orleans indie-rockers Lawn recently announced their sophomore LP, Johnny, due out September 4, 2020 via a collaboration between Community Records (Hikes, Slingshot Dakota) & Muscle Beach Records (Kate Teague, Molly Drag) and available for pre-order on vinyl HERE. The trio is led by bandmates Mac Folger and Rui DeMagalhaes, who released their raw and scrappy debut, Blood on the Tracks, on Minneapolis label Forged Artifacts back in 2018. Recorded over three months with friend and local mainstay Matthew Seferian (Pope, Matt Surfin’ & Friends), Johnny is a massive step forward for the band: intense but effortless, jumping to and from ragged post-punk and gleeful ‘90s indie-rock hooks. Ahead of the release, Lawn has shared a video for their new single “Summertime,” which Post-Trash calls “a pretty fucking cool song by a sweet band from the Big Easy.”
In “Summertime,” Venezuelan-born guitarist/songwriter DeMagalhaes details a racist encounter he experienced while working as a server in a New Orleans restaurant. “There’s a line in that song that says, ‘How dare you hide your accent from me?’ because that’s what the guy actually said to me,” he explains. “I grew up privileged, and I never thought racism would be my problem. My privilege meant nothing in that restaurant because I was brown and serving them, depending entirely on their tips. I was just another brown guy who needed their money.”
“Summertime” follows the heavy, art-punk-infused album standout “Jane Ryan,” which explores wealth inequality and corruption through the story of former Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos. The song was featured by Endless Scroll with Eli Enis praising, “Lawn play a breed of fizzy, peppy post-punk that really does it for me…This track sounds kind of like the tingly Rochester band Full Body crossed with Attack On Memory-era Cloud Nothings. A burner, a banger, a bop—whatever you wanna call it, this thing hits nicely.” Lawn initially announced the 9-song set with lead single “Nighttime Creatures,” which Gold Flake Paint called “a straight-up and timely reminder of what made their debut such an enjoyable ride.”
Originally from Tennessee and Venezuela respectively, Folger and DeMagalhaes first met in New Orleans’ house show scene and formed Lawn a few years later. The pair make a conscious effort to write and compose their records together, relying on their varying backgrounds and musical tastes to craft a unique, and surprisingly cohesive, blend of styles. “Mac gravitates toward pop music,” says DeMagalhaes. “I’m closer to harsh territory. We’re good foils. Musically, we just know how to complement each other. I seldom think of a time when he comes up with something I don’t like. We’re always finding the missing pieces of the puzzle for each other.”
Contrasting “Summertime” in both perspective and sound, Johnny’s jangle-pop title track, written mostly by Folger, is about growing up in a liberal Tennessee bubble and realizing you still have to take responsibility for the privilege into which you were born. “I grew up thinking I was right and a good person, because I came from a liberal background,” Folger explains. “I took that for granted growing up, and I realized that was bullshit. ‘Johnny’ is my grandfather’s name, and the song is directed at him.”
With Johnny, Lawn have created a vital record for our times: one with a conscience and a heart, filled with sing-along catharsis and hooks to match. Equal parts raw anger and utter joy, it is a fierce collection of bombastic indie rock, the perfect soundtrack to our canceled summer.