NPR Gives Dallas-Based Music Producer John Congleton His Much-Needed Due.
John Congleton sightings around town these days aren't altogether rare, necessarily. He's not Bigfoot. He can be spotted at various concerts around town, assuming you know where you're looking — generally, toward the back of the room, not far from the soundboard, with his earplugs in and his head nodding along to the music.
But to see him performing on a stage, on the other hand, is another matter. That hasn't happened since 2011 when Congleton debuted his barely-lived Nighty Nite project during a show at the Double Wide.
Mostly that's because the former frontman of the ever-adored and oh-so-sardonic The Paper Chase has seen his life wholly change in recent years as he's placed more focus into his production career. He'd produced records for years, of course, but recent years have been especially fruitful and seen him tinkering alongside such acts as St. Vincent, Erykah Badu, The Walkmen, Modest Mouse, Earl Sweatshirt, Cloud Nothings, Okkervil River, R. Kelly, Sarah Jaffe, Explosions in the Sky, David Byrne, The Mountain Goats, The Roots, Chairlift, Baroness, The New Pornographers and Wye Oak, just to name a many few. His Elmwood Recording studio space in Oak Cliff is essentially booked almost non-stop. He's as in-demand as record producers come.
Which is what makes this new in-depth radio interview with the man, courtesy of National Public Radio's “All Songs Considered,” all the more awesome. In it, the hosts lavish Congleton all the praise he's due for his just-plain-ridiculous run in phenomenal production and discuss with the man the songs that helped shape his tastes.
Congleton comes off just great in this forum: He talks about listening for the good in every bit of music he hears; he talks about his symbiotic relationship with St. Vincent's Annie Clark; and he even throws in a little charming physical self-deprecation for good measure, describing his build as “Keebler Elf.”
Also cool? He shares a new song he's finished of late during his down time (huh? when?), and, for fans of The Paper Chase and The Nighty Nite, this is must-hear stuff — and a surefire sign, too, that the deliciously nightmarish singer-songwriter within Congleton still lives on, yearning to break free.
Better yet: Seems Congelton quietly posted the tracks — in demo form, at least — to his Soundcloud page (“John Congleton & The Nighty Nite,” the URL reads, hmm) earlier this week.
Check them out below, while reminding yourself that this dude is an area musical treasure deserving to be considered in the Dallas music Mount Rushmore conversation. Very much so.