Release Date: Aug 21, 2015
Record label: Tomlab
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Pop
Nephew in the Wild is the second full-length album Owen Ashworth has written and recorded under the name Advance Base since retiring his former moniker Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, as well as all of the songs he wrote under that name. It seems obvious why he put that project to rest; by the time of his fourth album, 2006's astonishing Etiquette, his sound had grown far more ambitious since his early Casio-only days, featuring more ornate instrumentation and a cast of guest musicians and producers, and he simply wasn't in the same place anymore (mentally and physically, as he moved from the West Coast to Chicago around the time of the album's release). The final CftPA album was titled Vs.
Owen Ashworth writes car songs. It’s not that the tinny keyboard-driven compositions he’s made over the past decade-plus sounds particularly great slapping out of factory sedan sound systems — it’s a mindset thing. There’s a bitter nostalgia in the songs the Chicago-based talent writes (first as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, now as Advance Base), songs to play on a long trip away from everyone you love — for a long drive with everything to think about.
Growing up isn't easy. Just ask Owen Ashworth. Under the name Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Ashworth spent over a decade giving voice to the anxieties of young misfits with battery-powered keyboards serving as his primary accompaniment. His best songs during these years were miniature bildungsromans, richly detailed portraits of characters fighting to achieve adulthood despite personal failings, everyday struggles, and diminished horizons.
A teacher of mine used to say, “Your name walks into a room before you do.” A Google search suggests this isn’t the platitude I’d assumed it was, but the sentiment remains: People will have a conception and judgment of you before you even interact with them. I don’t think he literally meant “name” — rather, reputation — but in music, a name can certainly make a big difference. So it makes sense that Owen Ashworth was ready to move on from the moniker Casiotone for the Painfully Alone.