San Diego’s Blind Owl Records who continue to push the ever-blurring boundaries between art and rock n’ roll have released the collaborative spoken word EP Sounds from the Shadow Factory, inspired by the book of poetry and narrative prose Saturday Night Sage by Noah Lekas, released on Record Store Day of 2019. The EP is available in multiple formats including vinyl, CD, and a number of bundles, that include signed copies of the vinyl (by Noah, Ethan Miller of Howlin Rain, and artist Alan Forbes), the book, EP art, and incredible poster were all drawn by legendary artist Alan Forbes (Faith No More, Queens of the Stone Age, The Melvins, Mudhoney etc.).
Saturday Night Sage, a literary mediation on a blue-collar mystic looking for God and his place in Modern Culture, receiving weighty comparisons to Jack Kerouac, Nick Cave, and Bukowski, with the San Diego Union-Tribune writing that “you can hear glimmers of the Doors’ mysticism, Bob Dylan’s street-corner truth-telling, and Patti Smith’s punk rhapsodies." Navigating whiskey-soaked revelations with religion, folklore and dwindling opportunity, a spiritual journeyman wades through Eastern philosophy, Western theology, and the American highways and factories of the Midwest in search of resolve. The result is a stunning collection that the Big Takeover called “an absorbing and transporting exploration of mysticism and menial labor in contemporary America.”
The project brought together a number of artists who were inspired by the book, including Bay Area psych-rock band Howlin Rain who created a blues-soaked sonic meditation for the EP’s opening track “Saturday Night Sage.” San Diego’s Mrs. Henry interpreted “Out of the Storm Drains,” through an improvised jazzy filter, Chad Lee of The Silent Comedy put percussive textures on “The Word,” and is accompanied by Ben Ambrosini for the fuzzy psych-jam “Steamroll the Sky. Ambrosini is also featured on the “We Got a Problem with Groundwater,” and all tracks feature Lekas, putting voice to his words from the page with a haunting and often ominous rhythm. Glide Magazine said of Lekas’ performance that “through it all, we see a poet who knows how to turn the world around him into vivid depictions that brings to mind Hubert Selby Jr. and darker figures of the literary world.”
Lekas’ earliest inspiration was William Burroughs’ The Exterminator and Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski. Noah found Burroughs through a recording of The ‘Priest’ They Called Him that he did with Kurt Cobain and Hank through the band, Hot Water Music. Since then, music and literature have been inseparable for Lekas. Saturday Night Sage was a number of firsts for all parties involved. It was Lekas’ book debut and the very first literary release from Blind Owl Records, and now with the EP everything has come full circle. “This EP is a true collaboration from pen to paper to book to film to record,” says Blind Owl owner and founder Daniel Cervantes. “Noah’s writing has sparked a series of creative projects that I am proud to be a part of with the Blind Owl team. I am grateful that so many peers have acknowledged his creativity and contributed.”