Nick Waterhouse grew up in a coastal town near Long Beach, CA. It was a serene setting: the ocean stretching out for miles to the North and South, manicured lawns, two-story homes, long swathes of concrete highway, fast food chains and mega malls. He was there for two decades. Then, he left.
He found a home in his early 20s in San Francisco, working at record stores alongside a
collective of like-minded young crate-diggers and 45 collectors. And then he started making
his own records: “Time’s All Gone” in 2012, “Holly” in 2014, and “Never Twice” in 2016.
These were evocative albums, steeped in a perfectionism and clarity of vision that informed
every choice, from the studios to the players, the arrangements to the album art. Everything,
deliberately designed and purposeful, bubbling over with power and feeling.
And as those records rolled out into the world, Waterhouse found a dedicated audience of
his own as well as a bevy of influential champions and collabora- tors, including garage-rock
mystic Ty Segall, retro-futurist R&B bandleader Leon Bridges and the LA-based quartet
Allah-Las, whose first two albums he meticulously produced and played on. There is a
“Waterhouse Sound” and it comes from both the man and the method — recording
everything on magnet- ic tape, through analog equipment, and playing live (!), eyeball to
eyeball, whenever possible.
Now, he’s finished his fourth album. He’s calling it “Nick Waterhouse.” And whether
intentional or not, it is perhaps his most reflective — and reflexive — album, employing all of
the mature production techniques learned through- out his professional career while retaining
a viscous edge that allows it to land with colossal impact — more raw, heavy and overtly
confrontational than anything he’s made before.
All of the new Waterhouse songs sound big. Brawny and muscular. The lyrics are
suspicious, outraged and, at times, very vulnerable (muscle is just flesh, after all).
He’s four albums in, but it makes sense that this specific record is the one that takes his
name. You can really here Nick on this one. Not just the band. Not just the songs. Not just
the sound. HIM. You can hear his mind at work. His passion. His focus. More importantly,
you can feel it.