Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn is about to release his third album in 14 months, and the self-titled effort (out Sept. 28) is an unfussy, hard-rocker produced by Pixies frontman Frank Black. Download the track “Velcro Shoes” below.
The nostalgic song captures that moment of excitement when a little boy gets a new pair of sneakers, ones that could propel him into all kinds of adventures. “We would go to this place called Sneaker Town in Montville, NJ,” Yorn, 36, reminisces, “and [the cashier] would be always be like, ‘You want them in the box or do you want to wear them home?’ I’d be like, ‘I’ll wear them home!'”
Yorn’s lyrics recall childhood memories of playing with toys in the bathtub, eating PB&J cut into squares, and talking with his grandfather, who recently turned 100. “Perhaps this time we’ll build a treehouse where we can climb and waste the boring days away,” Yorn sings longingly in the chorus. “Maybe this time we’ll build a go-kart and drive around the world.”
The idea of the song first came to Yorn when he was a student at Syracuse University, but it took until now to record it. “As you get into college, [you have] that longing for the freedom you had as a kid, even though you were totally unaware of it,” he explains. “As you get older, a lot of people get more restrictive because they lose that sense of freedom. [The song’s] about being conscious of that, and getting it back.”
Working with Black, who was introduced by a mutual friend, also helped Yorn recapture that youthful vigor: The pair produced and recorded this entire album over five days last summer in Oregon, something Yorn didn’t believe was possible.
“I was telling [Frank], ‘Let’s just go for an EP, just a five-song thing, maybe,'” says Yorn. “And he was like, ‘Five songs? No way, dude! We’re going to do a whole record!’ I was like, ‘Really? All right, we’ll see.’ We got a record and some extra tracks, too.”
Yorn already admired Black, both as part of the Pixies and as a solo artist, but working together deepened his respect. “It felt liberating to bang out some tunes really fast, to capture them live in a room,” Yorn says. “He was so cool. He’s just a great guy.”
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