Trey Anastasio is quietly working on a new solo album with help from aformidable cast of indie rockers, SPIN has learned.
Since winding up his fall tour, the Phish guitarist has been making adaily commute from his New York City home to Bridgeport,Connecticut's Tarquin Studios, recording with his band and members ofthe National and Mates of State for the last month. Peter Katis, whoowns the suburban studio and has produced a string of indie rockalbums there (Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights and Antics, TheNational's Boxer, Mates of State's Rearrange Us), isco-producing the album with Anastasio.
A rep for Anastasio didn't return a request for comment, but earlyreports out of the studio say the sound is a mix between Anastasio'seclectic, Afro-tinged rock and the kind of experimental indie popproduced by the Philistines Jr., Katis' own recently reformed band. Before entering the studio, Katis told Sonic Scoop that Anastasio "wants to do something totally out of left-field."
Anastasio and Co. are working on about 15 new songs, with recordingexpected to wrap up in January. They'll take a weeklong break later thismonth, when Phish hold court for four sold-out shows at MadisonSquare Garden, including their traditional three-set performance onNew Year's Eve.
While the pairing of a jam-rock icon and an in-demand indie rockproducer may sound unusual, Anastasio and Katis share a common historywith another Vermont band — the Pants, a mid-to-late-'90sBurlington-based quartet whose Eat Crow was produced by Katis andchampioned by Anastasio when it was released in 1997.
And while Anastasio's name is usually linked to Garcia and Zappa, Treyhas a bit of a weakness for modern indie rock. He made the rest of themembers of Phish learn and perform TV on the Radio's "Golden Age," astaple cover on the last several Phish tours.
The restless, red-bearded frontman is also set to embark on his firstsolo orchestral tour in February, performing four dates in Atlanta,Pittsburgh, Denver and L.A. with local symphonies. His last solo album was 2009's orchestral Time Turns Elastic.