After years of helping steer the lauded and eclectic careers of both of his bands, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, co-founder and frontman David Lowery has seen fit to present a collection of songs recorded apart from those iconic indie & alternative rock entities. Stopping short of calling it a solo record, Lowery has collaborated with a handful of trusted musical cohorts associated with his Richmond, VA-based studio, Sound of Music – an inner circle that Lowery has relied on for over 17 years and who’ve been instrumental in helping create the sounds heard on this album as well as past projects. David recorded and produced The Palace Guards in conjunction with John Morand and Alan Weatherhead. Key players include Miguel Urbiztondo on drums, David Immergluck on guitars and bass, Craig Harmon played organs and Ferd Moyse on upright bass and fiddle. Special guest appearances include Cracker mates Sal Maida and Johnny Hickman, as well as the late Mark Linkous(Sparklehorse) who played keyboards on “Big Life.” The Palace Guards will be available everywhere February 1st, 2011 through 429 Records.

The Palace Guards took David several years to complete. Lowery felt it liberating to write the songs without the constrictions of how they might fit in with the Cracker or Camper canon of songs and performances. The easy rapport and powerful creative chemistry that Lowery shared with his studio pals allowed his introverted musical inclinations to shine through.  Apparent in this collection of nine songs is a willingness to push the envelope stylistically—from the Appalachian-woven folk of the album’s first single “Raise ‘em Up on Honey” to the swirling, languid psychedelia of “Deep Oblivion” and eclectic Syd Barrett-inspired title track, to the rocked-out “Baby, All Those Girls Meant Nothing to Me,” Lowery enjoys the freedom to write and record just about anything that pleases him at that moment.

“One of the reasons the album sounds the way it does is that I have pretty strong personalities playing with me,” says Lowery,“guys who I’ve worked with for years, who have done engineering or playing on Camper and Cracker albums. There’s that instant easy rapport that shines through. Working with them brought out the more extreme edges in these songs and amplified them. It was also liberating to start with no preconceived notions of what they would end up sounding like or worrying about how they might sound in a live setting, as I have to do when I write songs for Cracker.”

1. Raise ’em up on Honey
2. The Palace Guards
3. Deep Oblivion
4. Ah, You Left Me
5. Baby, All Those Girls Meant Nothing To Me
6. I Sold the Arabs the Moon
7. Marigold
8. Big Life
9. Submarine

This is all in advance of what will certainly be a very busy year for Lowery in 2011. In addition to promoting The Palace Guards, he’ll also be doing a string of East Coast this January with both Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker as part of their Key Lime & Kerosene Tour, where both bands will be performing their signature albums (CVB’s Key Lime Pie and Cracker’s Kerosene Hat) in their entireties.  David has also currently been writing new music with Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven for upcoming albums from both bands (this will mark the first new material from CVB since their lauded 2004 New Roman Times release). In addition, David also plans to continue working on his popular 300 Songs project – a blog chronicling all of the songs he’s written and recorded with both Cracker & CVB. Plans are also in the works to turn these wry, humorous and informative musings on his songs, bands and, ultimately, the music business in general, into his first published book later in the year.





Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR

[4/5] “Amazingly, after more than 25 years in music, this is Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman Lowery’s first solo album. He’s not fooling around; these cuts show the serious side of Lowery, eschewing his usual biting sardonicism and roots-rock crunch for more sincere emotions and a score of laid-back alt-country. It’s a pleasure to meet him.” –LONDON FREE PRESS

“… these songs are rich and clever, and Lowery’s many friends and collaborators offer excellent musical support on a piece of work that in subtle but important ways is an album he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) have made with either [Cracker or Camper Van Beethoven]. Lowery might not want to make a career out of his serious side, but The Palace Guards shows he can wise up and still make music that’s smart and satisfying.” – Mark Deming / ALL MUSIC

[8/10] “Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery splits the difference between the former’s loose eclectic twang and the latter’s tight psych-country on his solo debut. Assisted by some Virginia studio pals, Lowery sticks it to celebrity on the acerbic title track and the cock-schlockin’ “Baby, All Those Girls Meant Nothing to Me.” He logs his own love story in the heady aquatic shimmer of “Deep Oblivion” and its sweetly redemptive sequel “Submarine.” Sincerity trumps sarcasm, especially in his convincing cover of the Belgian band Mint’s gloriously morose “Ah, You Left Me.” – SPIN

“At 50 years old, David Lowery is still out-performing musicians half is age, and on February 1, his debut solo album, The Palace Guards, will be released through the 429 label. The title track and first single from the LP bears all the signature wit and observations of Lowery at his finest, though the new record represents the direction he’s never gone: songs that fit neither here nor there but that deserve equal attention.” – MAGNET MAGAZINE

“If the eclectic, alternative rock of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker lit you up, Lowery’s new album is going to make you a very happy camper all over again. The nine tracks on The Palace Guards, eight written by the singer, are as good as anything he’s done in the past, and he’s done some mighty good things.“ – SEATLLE POST-INTELLIGENCER

“A gleeful, all-over-the-map vibe that signals the songwriter’s liberation from Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven’s musical modus operendi, From sprawling ballads to raging rockers, Lowery’s quirky aphorisms, childlike wonder and deep irony remains thankfully intact.” – UNCUT

“David Lowery’s The Palace Guards is a vitalizing, thoughtful collection of songs that are not merely B-sides or out-takes of material intended for his two working bands. Instead they fall somewhere in-between the generous confines of both, showcasing a songwriter that has matured without losing his buoyant, crackling wit.“ – GOOD TIMES SANTA CRUZ

The songs on The Palace Guards are at times moody and introspective and other times they are glorious and indignant. They are, perhaps, more personal accounts of those things that have been addressed thematically and musically with the same charisma and charm in both Camper and Cracker.” –  HOLLYWOOD ICON MAGAZINE

“… intellectually stimulating and musically entertaining.” – M: MUSIC & MUSICIANS MAGAZINE

“Though the songs are neither Cracker nor Camper tunes, they are unmistakably Lowery’s, full of the droll wit and sly subversion that has characterized his songs for 25 years.” – SPINNER

The Palace Guards showcases his current musical vision in a way that neither of his bands [Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven] could have done justice to… hits to the core of what Lowery is able to do best.” –UNDER THE RADAR MAGAZINE

The Palace Guards creates a wide palette of musical styles, sounds and moods, from Americana to soft rock to pure angst.” – PERFORMER MAGAZINE

“A very cohesive affair with some serious high points.”  – SKOPE MAGAZINE

“At the age of 50, Lowery brings a maturity to these songs that may not have been there earlier in his career. This is a great solo effort.” – SCATTERED BLACK AND WHITE

“… a little bit of country, rock, Americana, and thankfully ‘weirdness’ thrown together that ranks as amongst the best stuff he has ever produced. This album gets better and better every time I spin it.” – HUGH SHOWS REDU

“ This is amongst Lowery’s best work to date and easily one of the year’s best releases to date.” – RYAN’S SMASHING LIFE

“Bona fide gems.” – EXCLAIM / CANADA

[5/5] “The lyrics are unsurprisingly wonderful and it’s also a very well-sequenced disc… If you’ve ever enjoyed Lowery’s peculiar vision in the past it’s well worth surrendering to The Palace Guards.”  – TIME OUT SYDNEY

“The songs are pure Lowery all the way: droning violins, drawled song-spiel singing, and lyrics that pierce the heart while revealing a slacker’s wit…. this intimate album is a welcome addition to the Lowery catalog.”  – AMERICAN SONGWRITER

[4/5] “The deliriously wry songwriting and raspy vocals remain intact, and Lowery continues to blend rock snarls with almost literary smarts.” – RICHMOND STYLE WEEKLY

The Palace Guards is equally good at being gorgeous, particularly on the illusory “Deep Oblivion,” where a spaced-out Lowery weaves surreal imagery about “a place below the sea… cold, bright, and white.” It’s delivered with a sly grin, but like the rest of The Palace Guards, it’s seriously good.”  – THE ONION

The Palace Guards, is blissfully idiosyncratic, indulging in sweet buckwheat hootenannies, tempered garage-rock blessings and hard-earned alt-pop homilies.” – MAXIMUM INK

“… a stylistically diverse effort. There are, of course, bits of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven to be heard throughout the disc, but it wanders from folk to psychedelic rock and back.” – CHARTATTACK

“… consistently charming and engaging. The Palace Guards is a gift; teeming with spontaneity and vigor. It’s one of those cases when grabbing the whole kaboodle is recommended: it’s well-ordered, and there are too many winners for it to make sense to favorite some for download.” – SAN DIEGO READER

“… a strong and consistent series of songs that, at times, reaches for the best of Lowery’s work. More than two decades into his career, David Lowery has, more or less, just proven his relevancy, which, to crib from an earlier song of his, could just very well be what the world needs now.” – POPMATTERS

While this is a little different from his full band days, everything that made CVB and Cracker great is used and expanded upon with this collection. The Palace Guards is an excellent mix of alt-country meets folk rock that is guaranteed to stay in your CD player for a while” – RICHMOND PLAYLIST

“… a surprisingly invigorating batch of songs, running the gamut from quirky-sounding indie rock to the more predictable country-leaning stuff Lowery’s always been so good at. His voice sounds wonderfully ragged and weary, and the melodies are subtle but addictive. The production really shines too—or maybe “shines” is the wrong word: It’s gritty and dynamic, perfectly matched to the songs themselves.” – CRAWDADDY

“Finally, at 50, Lowery releases his solo debut, The Palace Guards, and the best elements of both his bands share space on the same excellent album. It’s about time fans met the man behind the magic of two great bands, and here’s a chance to get to know him on engagingly intimate terms. – Gene Triplett / THE OKLAHOMAN

The Palace Guards takes in the work of his previous bands but adds something else. It might be called maturity, even though Lowery’s voice retains the raucous raggedness that implies the rolled-eye snarl of eternal adolescence. And there are twangy and psychedelic touches that will be familiar to fans, but they’re unusually muted and focused.” – MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL

“Lowery manipulates chord progressions, taking the sound in an unexpected direction not only between tracks, but within each song. We’re not dealing with a new album from a new guy — the maturity and depth on each track screams of the years Lowery has put into mastering his craft.” – THE RED AND BLACK

“That voice and keen melodic sense, the same qualities that typify David Lowery’s other projects, are apparent on The Palace Guards. He continues to create anthemic, countrified rock and piquant ballads.” – THE WHEEL’S STILL IN SPIN

“… with a focused weaving of folk, alternative country, psychedelia and peeled back indie pop, beefed up a little help from Cracker mates Sal Maida and Johnny Hickman, plus Sparklehorse’s late great Mark Linkous, Lowery has no trouble making his mark as a solo artist.” – HEAR/SAY MAGAZINE

[5/5] “The Palace Guards is a great sounding record from beginning to end, filled with subtle twists, surprising changes, and great playing throughout. There’s a wealth of strange textures, unusual instrument choices, and an overall sound that harkens back to the best records coming out of Britain in the ‘60s. But, for all the soundscaping that goes on, Lowery’s songs and voice are always the main attraction, and he’s at the top of his considerable game.” – ROCK GUITAR DAILY

“Lowery has crafted an incredible record in The Palace Guards. Not only does he still have it, his smart songwriting hasn’t faltered a bit. The album’s title track sounds like a vintage Pavement tune from the ‘90s. More importantly, it signals that the album is no one trick pony – it’s loaded with variety.”  – HEAR YA

“…a witty, lyrically clever and incisive, musically eclectic solo debut.”  – AMERICANA BOOGIE

“… semi-psychotic alt-country introspection that makes for some real entertainment. The Palace Guards might just be a stop on Lowery’s long journey, but a singular and sweet one.” – QRO MAGAZINE

“… the songs exude an air of personal reminiscence and fluctuate between weighted gravity and flighty whimsy, exploring themes of love, loss, and liberalism, sprinkled throughout with songs of sheer beauty.” – THE NEEDLE AND THE GROOVE

“… provides a great survey of the breadth of Lowery’s abilities. – TORONTO SNOB’S MUSIC

“Amazing. The Palace Guards is a nine-song wonder, with Lowery employing a bit of twang, dreamy guitars and a host of stirring formidable lyrics well worth taking to heart.” – ABANDONED COUCHES

“Unsurprisingly great” – THE BOSTON PHOENIX

A batch of incredible songs.”  – CULTURE MAGAZINE

Lowery jumps around stylistically on the album, with country rock (“Raise ’em Up on Honey”), psychedelia ( “Deep Oblivion”) and pedal-to-the-metal rock ‘n’ roll ( “Baby, All Those Girls Meant Nothing to Me”).” – SOUNDSPIKE

“David Lowery’s beautiful first solo album, The Palace Guards, is a must-have for fans of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. For others, it’s the ideal opportunity to get better acquainted with this important artist.” – ROOTSTIME / BELGIUM

“If you’re skeptical about David Lowery’s new music, take one listen to the album’s title track. It’s a wonderfully executed homage to Syd Barret’s strange songwriting style.”  – MECCA LECCA / NYC

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