Sam Evian Talks Fourth LP, Plunge (Out Today): “I’ve been calling it a bit of a return to form…” (4/28 at JB’s)

Today sees the release of Plunge, the fourth studio album from Sam Evian, known for his work producing, engineering, and mixing PHILTHY phavorites (and we like to think phriends)...

Today sees the release of Plunge, the fourth studio album from Sam Evian, known for his work producing, engineering, and mixing PHILTHY phavorites (and we like to think phriends) like Cassandra Jenkins, Kate Bollinger, Palehound, and Big Thief.  The album has already produced three singles, which have received high praise from the likes of Stereogum, Paste, and FLOOD, who said second single, “Rollin’ In,” “skews things in the direction of DeMarco-esque surf-pop as it sets the scene for Evian mulling things over on the Atlantic Coast.”

“I’ve been calling it a bit of a return to form, with songs written on a guitar…  It’s definitely Rock N’ Roll,” Evian tells me during a recent phone chat, noting, “The last album, Time to Melt, was a bit more experimental, with lots of overdubs, being the product of being alone during COVID.”  However, Plunge has Evian far from alone.  After relocating and revamping his Flying Clouds Studios to a barn on his property in the Catskills in late 2022, Evian had a group of some of his closest musical friends (including Liam Kazar, Sean Mullins, El Kempner of Palehound and Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief) join him for 10 days to track the 9 songs of Plunge.  “All the people that I work with have their own projects and play on other people’s project, so there’s a certain language that we all share in the studio that we kind of rely on,” he tells me of the process.

Plunge is Evian’s first release on his own imprint, Flying Cloud Recordings, something that he tells me he’s quite excited about: “It’s been a dream ever since I knew what Sun Records was in Memphis…  I used to look through Disc Makers catalogues as a kid [laughs].”  However, he’s also getting some help with distribution from Thirty Tigers (who’ve also worked with our phriends Husbands, Riddy Arman, Heartless Bastards, and Leah Blevins), whose help he’s greatly appreciative for: “They’re very good at it!”

Last month Sam Evian played a handful of shows in Europe, including a sold-out show in London, and next month he’ll be kicking off a US tour that includes an April 28th date at Johnny Brenda’s, which he tells me he’s a big fan of: “I love Johnny Brenda’s!  It’s just a classic!”  He goes on to tell me that he’s actually a big fan of intimate, standing-room settings in general: “They’re my favorite.  That’s the sweet spot, 200-300.  The bigger the venue gets, the worse the sound gets, and we’ve opened for some bigger acts in bigger rooms and the sound can be pretty bad.”

And while you can expect to hear much of Plunge at Johnny Brenda’s, Sam tells me that longtime fans can definitely expect some older material, as well: “I like playing the old songs…  I have four records now under my belt and we’ll be playing from the whole catalogue.”  He also welcomes fans to come armed with their favorites in mind: “Sometimes people make requests, so if we know it, we might play that…  We’ll play an hour twenty, an hour thirty, if they want it…”

Joining Sam for these dates will be his partner, Hannah Cohen, who played one of the last great shows at Boot & Saddle in January of 2020, before it closed its doors, but who we haven’t heard from in quite some time.  Although Sam tells me she has plenty of new material: “Hannah has a new record under her belt that I produced, which will probably be out in early 2025.”  But, at the moment, he tells me he’s most focused on these dates, which run through late May: “I’m excited to reconnect with touring…  I work with so many other artists, so it’s nice to focus on my own songs for a minute.”

*Get your tickets here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.