“June” is the new single from Film School’s full-length to be released in spring 2016. It’s the first recording in 10 years by the incarnation of the band known to fans as the original Beggars lineup, after the label (Beggars Banquet) that put out their self-titled LP in 2006.
The gently layered composition of “June,” reminiscent of Beach House or Galaxie 500, might evoke images of a breezy meadow illuminated by the shimmering light of early summer, as its title suggests. But the song’s sweet melody, dreamy vocals, and ethereal washes of reverb belie its lyrical themes. “June, you show your light, sweet sweet sacrifice / What should we believe? How can we believe? / June, I’m on my knees, here for sweet mercy.” It’s the plea of a burdened soul in search of peace, and in that way “June” also shares a musical lineage with Spiritualized’s “Shine a Light” or the Velvet Underground’s “Jesus.”
The track reflects a more mature Film School, whose members have gotten married, gotten divorced, bought houses, had kids, struggled with drug addiction, suffered a studio fire, lost jobs, started businesses, taken on daunting responsibilities. In other words, they’re confronting midlife: older and wiser but, ironically, perhaps also more vulnerable.
Lead singer, guitarist, and lyricist Greg Bertens explains that the words came to him early one morning. “I’d been struggling with some things happening in my life, not least of all being a husband and a father, and the burden of the future. I woke at dawn one morning feeling totally overwhelmed. I looked outside at this giant summer sky beginning to light up and just sorta broke down. I started thinking about June as this sort of spiritual idea of something that was beyond me, like a season of life that comes and goes but will always be there, and the power of that. It gave me some relief.”
Though Film School performed and recorded with various personnel before going on hiatus in 2011, this particular group of musicians hadn’t played together in nearly 10 years. The new album reunites Bertens with bassist Justin LaBo, guitarist Nyles Lannon, drummer Donny Newenhouse, and keyboardist Jason Ruck.
The five of them came back together last fall, when they agreed to perform a one-off show to celebrate Newenhouse’s birthday. The former bandmates had parted ways the previous decade under less-than-ideal circumstances: during one show on their last tour, a physical altercation broke out on stage. Some members hadn’t spoken to each other since then. One had dropped out of music altogether. They were now living hundreds of miles apart. So no one knew quite what to expect once they were all in the same room again.
Any lingering tension or doubt they may have felt vanished as soon as they plugged in. “The rehearsals for the reunion show hit me like a lightning bolt,” recalls LaBo. “Playing loud, musically communicating with the other guys, the challenge to be creative—it was an incredible feeling.”
The chemistry and camaraderie that the group rekindled through their reunion fueled a burst of musical energy that felt only natural to keep pursuing. “I always felt we were just getting started with the self-titled Beggars release, creatively speaking,” Newenhouse says, “so it’s really motivating and inspiring to have this second chance to make good on our potential.”
“June” is the new single from Film School’s full-length to be released in spring 2016. It’s the first recording in 10 years by the incarnation of the band known to fans as the original Beggars lineup,...
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