Though its four members now reside in Portland, Oregon, Old Time Relijun began life in Olympia. Indeed, few bands feel quite as much like Olympia: ambitiously odd, disarmingly immediate and unafraid of experimentation.
The fiery noise-rock group got its start in the ’90s, eventually releasing eight knockout albums through 2007 before going on extended hiatus. After 12 years in the wilderness, Old Time Relijun has returned with its new album, See Now and Know.
Calvin Johnson, head of K Records – where Old Time Relijun made its home since nearly the beginning – spoke to us about how it feels to welcome the band back into the fold. “We’ve toured together, we’ve recorded together, we’ve done a lot of work together over the years,” he says. “They still have this crazy fun sound, but it’s almost a little more normal – not in a way that turns you off. I was like, ‘The kids [have] still got it!’ … I still think about that LP trilogy they did with Lost Light, 2012 and Catharsis in Crisis. Each of those albums was so epic and so perfect, and when you put them all together it’s really something special.”
When Johnson says Old Time Relijun sounds a little more “normal,” he’s definitely grading on a curve. The quartet (Germaine Baca, Arrington de Dionyso and Aaron and Benjamin Hartman) is capable of creating some of the most daring music around, so producing a more approachable sound on See Now and Know still results in something exhilaratingly strange. This is a bracing album that dashes through seven angular, cacophonous songs in 23 minutes.
See Now and Know saw its official release March 8, in preparation for an extensive tour through the Midwest and East Coast in the spring. We’re happy to know the country will get a concentrated dose of Old Time Relijun’s wild spirit.