Billy Summer knows where he stands in the Tampa Bay area's guitar world, and while we didn't directly honor the 45-year-old gunslinger in our annual Best of the Bay issue (out now, and available online), Summers and his band did declare you all Best of the Bay in a Facebook post this morning.
Summer's Luxury Mane crew — which includes bassist Aaron Kyle Nelson and Kyle Lovell on Drums — released a new album, Lux Runnin Out today. It's available digitally for $6.66. Folks who want to touch their music in addition to hearing it will have to wait until next month when vinyl is supposed to be birthed into the terrestrial world.
The collection of songs was recorded at Summers's west St. Pete home studio (called Hey! We Put Some Foam Up) over the last year. There were all mixed by Summers himself except for "Eating A Milky Way Tonight" and "Hard To Be Easy," which were mixed by Eric Stamile. More help came at the hands of frequent Luxury Mane collaborator Timothy Stollenwek who mastered the 35-minute album at Sterophonic Mastering in Portland, Oregon.
The Pacific Northwest vibe really comes through on "Julian," one of the album's many highlights, where Summer channels his inner Elliott Smith thanks to a Maestro Echoplex he bought in Largo.
"His music and voice were a big influence on me in the 90s. I love the way he panned his vocals. I think my voice sounds more interesting like that," Summer told CL in a message. "His suicide would have been a more accurate reflection of his music if he had stabbed himself in both lungs instead of the heart." Summer said he wasn't necessarily going for the overtly shimmery sound on the album. "I never go for any certain aesthetic, I don't really know what I'm doing," he said. "I just like to write and record. I read every issue of Tape Op religiously and hardly understand a word."
He does understand the idea of listening to the room to make sure ideas make it to tape. For example, "Julian" was a demo from years ago that had that a melody and some made up words.
“A kid named Julian was hanging around for a while, it was Eric’s kid, his baby,” Summers said. “I was thinking about how maybe when you have kids they must take over your spotlight. Hence the lyrics ‘I faded out, you faded in’ — I always knew that song would make it back to us somehow.”
Summers looked back on that track, but the art for Runnin’ is a deliberate look forward.
“I told Todd Bates that I was tired of the adjectives like 'Hazy, Psychedlic, Fuzzed Out, etc.’ and all the records I see when I'm shopping. They’re are all swirly and blurry. I wanted a big bold, neonish non-statement that didn't fit into what seems to be the norm. He gets it.”
See the album art from former CL art director Bates, and listen to the album below.