Venice Is Sinking: 'Ryan's Song'

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Athens, Ga. quintet, Venice is Sinking Ian Darken hide caption

itoggle caption Ian Darken
Venice Is Sinking 300

Athens, Ga. quintet, Venice is Sinking

Ian Darken

According to drummer Lucas Jensen, AZAR, the title of Venice is Sinking's upcoming album, has many possible translations. It is a common Persian name meaning "passion," a term for "bad luck" in Portuguese, and "an effective math teacher who is usually an ex-marine" according to the Urban Dictionary website. None of these meanings is relevant to the band, however. Instead, Jensen reveals that the true source of inspiration for the enigmatic album name is actually the "odious liquor store" portrayed on the album's cover art that "sits at an unusual nexus of urban blight and gentrification."

According to Jensen, the band decided to name its album AZAR some three years ago after an incident involving a "slumpy, possibly dead drunk," a curmudgeonly clerk, and a "milky bottle of Wild Turkey." Interestingly, the liquor store ended up shaping the tone of many of the ensuing songs, which cover topics like "dislocation and how geography affects our lives." The lesson in geography Jensen refers to is one the members of Venice is Sinking know all too well since they routinely drove from Athens all the way to Monroe, NC where their recording studio was located. Despite the hardships inherent in the recording process – including the loss bass player, the experience was not entirely negative. In addition to recounting numerous strange and comic anecdotes pertaining to this arduous time spent in the studio, Jensen says they all became better musicians in the end.

A sprawling and cinematic album, AZAR is peppered with instrumental tracks named after the notorious liquor store in Atlanta, Ga. Beautiful duets fill the remainder of the tracks, but the vocals are sparse and delicate enough to aid the feeling of desolation.

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