Dashboard Confessional has announced a U.S. Unplugged Tour this fall, their first since cancelling the remainder of last year’s sold-out, DC20 20th anniversary celebration tour around the release of their first-ever career-spanning compilation, The Best Ones Of The Best Ones. The tour will feature singer/guitarist Chris Carrabba alongside a stripped-down backing band that includes Dashboard’s longtime guitarist Armon Jay, with Abby Kelly and Dane Poppin (fans will recognize the lineup from Dashboard’s ‘Lonely Hearts & Lovers’ Valentine’s Day stream).
Prior to the Valentine’s concert stream, Carrabba’s last live set was the April 2020 career-spanning charity show ‘As Social As I Get Now,’ which raised over $172,000 for the Music Health Alliance, a Nashville-based organization partnered with the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief project (which matched donations dollar-for-dollar). Carrabba has since also released an installment in the Spotify Singles series; launched The Early Days vinyl reissue series that spotlighted the band’s formative albums and EPs (including a first-ever pressing of their Platinum-certified live album MTV Unplugged 2.0); and partnered with Mondo to release three EPs—2001’s So Impossible, 2002’s Summers Kiss, and a newly created Spider-Man 2—for the very first time on vinyl. He also teamed up with Nightowl Canning as a partner, investor, and ambassador for Canvino: Bottle-Quality Wine, In A Can™.
Hi, this is Kevin from This Wild Life and I’m going to hack out our own bio.
This Wild Life is a two piece acoustic band comprised of two drummers, what the hell right? We met in our early 20’s and realized that although we were raised on opposite ends of the country, our musical journeys were strikingly similar. Older brother played the drums, so we followed suit. Acoustic guitar showed up at the house, we fucked around with it. Like many teenagers, we listened to a wide variety of music ranging from Blink 182 and Dashboard Confessional, to Earth Wind & Fire, and Snoop Dogg. Some of those influenced us more than others, but Mom ruled the stereo while cleaning up the house Sunday mornings.
Fast forward about a decade and I met Anthony working at a Guitar Store. He was my manager and I had already been fired from the place once, but I’m relentless. We started a band together, and at first it was loud with drums and electric guitars. For about six months we tried out singers to no avail until one day Anthony told me to suck it up and just sing for the damn band already. From the shower to the stage, I started singing in front of more people than I should’ve been for someone with so little experience, not to mention confidence.
We grinded as a local band for years and although we managed to pack out our local venue, the music industry never caught onto us. After our last show, Anthony sold his drum set and told me he wanted to just play acoustic stuff from now on. So we charged our credit cards and flew across the country to make a full length acoustic record with my musical hero Aaron Marsh. While making it we got a Facebook Message from the owner of Epitaph Records saying he loved our band. I told Aaron and Anth I felt like crying. Aaron said “You’ve worked hard for this, do it man!” and I did.
That record was called Clouded and it changed our lives. We spent the following two years in the van traveling the world. The scene we loved that always seemed so far was somehow where we existed now. Back to back Warped Tours, opening for giants like Pierce the Veil, and heroes like Dashboard Confessional and New Found Glory. What a fuckin whirl.
2016 comes around and we’ve lived a whole lot of life and listened to a whole lot of music since our 2014 debut. We get back into the studio with a batch of songs totally unlike our first record. We explored brooding tempos, electric guitar effects, and some ambitious full band tracks. Lyrically the record was self reflective and self deprecating. It reached to the darkest corners of my mind and just fucking stayed there. It was exhausting. Creative departures can be that way, and I’m glad that we explored our sound to find what we truly love about creating music. That record was called Low Tides.
And so here we are today. We lived in our records for the last four years and decided what we love and what we don’t about them. Early on in the writing process we made a mutual decision to make a record that felt brighter, more uptempo, and something we’d personally want to listen to every single damn day. We limited the arrangements to only instruments that can physically be played (Synths are cool, but Twenty One Pilots we are not). You would think these limits in place would’ve confined us, but the opposite occurred. It opened the door to some of our most honest and explorative songwriting to date.
While sonically these songs have a sunny continuity to them, the lyrical content between songs is some of our most diverse. This was clear while writing our quirky ukulele laden love song “Catie Rae” during the same span that our song “Westside” was written about a loved one being sexually abused. Along with the lyrical diversity, our producer Ryan Hadlock (Lumineers, Vance Joy) helped us explore unique instrumentation. Although a couple city kids have no business playing folk music, we incorporated sounds of mandolins into the backing of our pounding sing along track “Headfirst” and beautiful string arrangements supporting our fingerpicking ballad “Hold You Here”. Weaving these instruments in and out of our acoustic arrangements allowed a breath of fresh air and an individual voice to each track while maintaining the organic sound we were chasing. Hell yeah.
I hate it when bands tell you their new record is their “best shit yet” or “more mature”. That’s not for them to decide, it’s for the listener. And so I leave you with our new record Petaluma. These songs are yours as much as they are ours. Listen to it loud with the windows down, on Sunday mornings when you’re cleaning up around the apartment, or throw on some headphones and find some comfort in it’s escape.
It’s our best shit yet.
Best, Kevin (Approved by Anthony)
For Armon Jay’s third and latest solo effort, aptly titled The Dark Side of Happiness, the burgeoning auteur took matters into his own hands, writing, recording, arranging, engineering and producing every song, and playing virtually every instrument at his home studio in Franklin, TN.
On his new album, Armon has turned his crisis of faith – all that anxiety, frustration, neuroses, self-doubt and compulsive behavior – into art, yet another step on his ongoing artistic journey. The Dark Side of Happiness isn’t just personal but offers an intimate glimpse into Armon’s own inner conflict, a quiet record with subtle dynamics, but emotionally raw.
“Some days, Depression is real life for me, and other days it isn’t. Most days, are somewhere in the middle, which can be the strangest. This album explores all of the above”
Armon spent nearly 14 hours a day for two months recording the album, barely getting any sleep. “As heavy lyrically as the album is, it was the most fun I’ve ever had making music,” he insists. “I woke up every day with a feeling of purpose which felt right. It felt good.”
Working with mixer Zach Hanson from Justin Vernon’s April Base studio outside of Eau Claire, WI, where Bon Iver albums are made, proved to play a major role in how it turned out after Armon recorded “in the box,” using UAD interface and plugins. “I credit Zach with bringing that analog warmth to the album,” says Armon, adding kudos for Jeremy Larson, who recorded and arranged the strings for three tracks (“Lighthouse,” “Break the Habit” and the title song) and Abby Gundersen, responsible for the violins on “Stay Grounded.”
The last two years have been the most successful yet for Armon Jay’s ascendant musical career. As a member of Chris Carrabba’s Dashboard Confessional, he toured and recorded with the band on its first studio album in nine years. Songs from his first two solo albums earned a number of song placements, including “Edge of the Dark” (from 2013’s Everything’s Different, Nothing’s Changed), which garnered syncs in Criminal Minds, So You Think You Can Dance and Salvation, while “Better Off Without” (from 2015’s Del Rio) ended up in 13 Reasons Why, Nashville, Heartbeat and Set It Up, among others.