Austin’s self-proclaimed “trash poet” John Wesley Coleman III incorporates his heady musings and witticisms with analog slacker rock. His new full length release, Greatest Hits, will be released on October 23rd by local imprint Super Secret Records. Following years of varied creative output at a breakneck pace, including performing with psychedelic five-piece The Golden Boys and releasing a combination poetry book/CD titledAmerican Trashcan, Coleman finds himself in new, unfamiliar creative turf – becoming a dad.
Greatest Hits chronicles Coleman’s evolution as he subscribes to a new “hustle” – growing older and raising his daughter – and his struggle to bridge new and old ideas of being an artist. Coleman essentially sums this up as “shit being more real now.” His specific and enigmatic songwriting has never been all about seriousness, however. Tracks like “Bong Song,” Coleman’s sweet ode to the stoner who longs for more love in the world after watching too much cable news, and “Lawnmower Man,” an improved jam Coleman wrote and recorded in 15 minutes after a particularly grueling and smelly landscaping session – another one of his many side hustles – illustrate his ability to craft songs that are playful and cleverly subversive, while also expressing immutable sincerity. Sonically, he takes inspiration from the Southern swagger of Dwight Yoakam and George Jones, the classic rock of Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, the punk rock turbulence of Iggy and the Stooges and The Ramones.
Greatest Hits expands Coleman’s repertoire of irreverent release titles (Urinal Cake 7″ was released in 2014) and features songs that “all sounds completely different, like they all came from different albums.” The 10-track album was recorded at East Austin’s Cat Eye Studios by Doug Walseth on analog 8 track to 1 inch tape, and some tracks were completely live. “Pick Up the Phone” delves into the friction between Coleman wanting to go out and be a part of the music scene and knowing that he is becoming more distanced from it as he gets older. He also notes that this can result in missing out on “partying under a bridge with Anthony Kiedis.” Coleman apologizes in his best growl for his eccentric personality on the psychedelic “I Touched Your Mind” and “Fallin Out of Love,” written by Austin songwriter Will Cope, finds Coleman channeling his country music heroes as he yearns to fall out of love so he can again experience falling back in it. “Television” was co-written with Austin based songwriter Nick Allison (Church Shoes), and Coleman’s chorus acts as a kind of love song to his TV, which keeps him company when he sleeps on his couch after being booted out of bed by mom and baby. Two songs on Greatest Hits come from a very interesting business venture Coleman practiced: Fans paid him $10 online and gave him a tidbit about themselves, and he would whip up a song and record it for them. “Miranda” was commissioned by an eponymous fan in Austin and turned out to be one of Coleman’s favorites. “Portlandia” was crafted for a couple in Oregon, and they told Wes they will play it at their upcoming wedding. “SleepyHead,” a garage rock lullaby that muses on the recurring difficulty of putting his daughter to sleep, features a guitar solo from local punk luminary Dean Beadles, who also produced hisLittle Miss Keith Richards album.
For more info check out johnwesleycoleman.com.