When Weinland played "For Land, For Love, For Time" the first time, Adam Shearer told the audience it was written by his niece, Hannah. It wasn't, of course, but people took him at his word. "I made that story up because the song is so blatant. It says, 'I won't help anyone who won't help anybody else.' I feel like we got twice the applause because people believed a 12-year-old wrote it. It's two chords, it's really slow, and every single line is very honest—it's not shrouded in any kind of mystery."
If you've heard any of Weinland's other music, though, Shearer's songwriting voice is unmistakable. It's got one foot in the self-affirming whisper of Elliott Smith, and the other in the mud puddle of Gold Rush-era Neil Young. Meanwhile, the other members of Weinland frame the tunes in American Gothic architecture. Says drummer Ian Lyles, "The records that we strive to make are something that's going to grow on you, that you build a relationship with. That way, it's in your life for a long time."
Weinland's new record, La Lamentor, comes out this Tuesday on Badman Recordings, wrapped in a cover image snagged from an antique photograph discovered at SE Hawthorne's Really Good Stuff. Beginning with the murderous incantation of "God Here I Come," the album ponders the nature of servitude in a relationship and the feelings that clumsily crack open when one realizes the role they're playing is limited. In Shearer's words, "You're there, you're taking care of someone, you make it better, and then you leave. Because you don't serve a super-big purpose after that."
Shearer would know. He spent years working with troubled teenagers in the mental health system, and the emotional investments of the work were at odds with the clock-in, clock-out nature of any day job. The experience impacted the relationships in his own life, and La Lamentor's title track explores this. "It starts really fragile," Shearer explains, "Then gets more and more aggressive—and then the tape stops (which was accidental, by the way). I rarely will write a song about a specific relationship, but some lyrics in these songs directly relate to my work. I'm really hesitant to talk about them, though—I mean, should you explain those things?"