This afternoon, big-time Indiana indie label Jagjaguwar finally dropped the official word on Gayngs, the psychedelic soul collaboration between all of Megafaun, Ivan Howard of The Rosebuds, Justin Vernon and Mike Noyce of Bon Iver and a slew of Minnesota and Wisconsin musicians culled from bands like P.O.S., Solid Gold and Andrew Bird's touring unit. And that was a long sentence. We mentioned the project last summer, and Megafaun and Howard even unveiled the album's sublime, surreal closer, "The Last Prom on Earth," at last year's TRKFest. But the band's debut LP, Relayted, now has a release date of May 11 and a cover of, uhh, an intertwined pot leaf and vagina.
Helmed by Twin Cities beat man Ryan Olson, Relayted's 11 tracks—all set at 69 beats per minute—cum flooded with stacked keyboards, thick bass and at least one shocking sax solo. There's soul-singing, spectral harmonies and a Bone Thugs rap from Vernon. Meanwhile, the interludes that link the tracks lift all of it to a sort of rarefied Miles Davis Get Up With It space. It's a project without a lot of precedents, especially given the music on which most of those involved have built their reputations. And as silly and preposterous as it might sound, it somehow works, thanks in large part to the excellent playing and surprising singing and its consistent, slowly unfurling aesthetic.
At any rate, it should be interesting to see the public's response to Gayngs: Can what began mostly as a joke become one of the weird successes of music this year? Maybe.