Water Liars

Will Johnson & Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster have joined forces to release an album under the name of Marie/Lepanto. The idea was hatched during a living room tour they did together. These are two of my favorite voices in music and I can’t emphasize how happy I am about this. The tune below kicks ass. Get excited for this one.

In the sunken lands of Arkansas along I-55, there’s a road sign that directs you to a pair of tiny, hardscrabble towns in the Delta. It reads: Marie/Lepanto and resides roughly between where each artist grew up: Justin in Arkansas and Will in Missouri. Alternating between lofi folk and distorted indie rock, ‘Tenkiller’ finds their two voices shadowing one another, with Johnson’s battered vocals and Kinkel-Schuster’s wavering tenor complementing one another. Many of the songs then funnel into expansive instrumental breaks. “Inverness” segues into the fingerpicking, creaky “Rest Be Mine.” The widescreen waltz “High Desert” coexists with the ghostly title track, named for a lake in Oklahoma and inspired by Justin’s reading the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

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Marie/Lepanto is here



Photo by Matt White

For those not in the know, Justin is the lead voice and 1/3 of HearYa favorite, Water Liars. With Water Liars, their tunes tend to vacillate between quiet moments and crashing sound all the while showcasing life’s difficulties. On his solo debut, Justin dials back the sound for in giving you something that feels like a confessional.

Kinkel-Schuster has never been shy of his admiration for the late Jason Molina. And that shines through as this has the feeling of some of Molina’s more mellow work. Painting Houses is a gorgeous melancholy track that examines the struggles of everyday. The finish beginning at 2:40 ooozes Molina greatness and I don’t throw those words around easily.

Kinkel-Schuster’s vocals continue to shine. It is nice to see in a slight different fabric on his solo album. Headed South and Milky South are among his best work. The songs just seem to dig up some hurt.

While I am chomping at the bit for a new Water Liars album, this was a nice way to pass the time in between.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Justin / Water Liars are here

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Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, lead singer of HearYa favorites Water Liars is set to release his solo LP on Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum. As AV Club so eloquently put it, the track Laid Low “sees Kinkel-Schuster putting his Jason Molina influence on full display.”

The 11 songs on Constant Stranger feel like snapshots documented, processed, and archived, filled with stories and images of how the small and often overlooked everyday moments affect the larger ones. There’s a weary yet warm, resigned yet hopeful, realist yet romantic nature to Kinkel-Schuster’s writing, which here strikes as an attempt at reconciling – or reckoning – the complicated and changeable nature of memory and all human relationships. With evocative imagery of the natural world, Constant Stranger seamlessly blends these deeply personal ruminations on family, lovers, a musician’s transient life, and the frequently confounding nature of existence – and creates a universally felt home for memory, gratitude, acceptance, and regret.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Water Liars are here

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Water Liars – s/t album [album review]

by Woody on February 3, 2014


I am often asked to describe a band to friends who aren’t as well-versed in the indie music scene as I am. When I first caught wind of Water Liars, I couldn’t stop talking about them. My description was something along the line of “a more soulful Black Keys. The songs tend to be somewhat melancholy as well.” I don’t know what I mean about half the shit I say but I said that a lot.

While the Keys pick you up on a bluesy rocking ride, leaving you physically exhausted. Water Liars, however, gets into your being, finding its way into the pit of your stomach. Justin Kinkel-Schuster’s mournful voice dredges up emotions you didn’t know you had inside you. Its an uncanny ability that he shares with the late Jason Molina, and when drummer Andrew Bryant joins in on harmonies, it is a thing of pure beauty

Water Liars tunes can either bulldoze their way in with an intro that starts off in 5th gear before pulling back into 2nd.
Then there are tunes that barely creep out of first. Either way, the lyrics will be amongst the best you hear. On Swannanoa, a gut-wrenching track that I can’t stop listening to; the lyrics are so vivid that you can feel the pain.

I woke up in Houston
In somebody’s kitchen
The ceiling was sweating
And I was afloat
On a dirty brown river
of heroin shivers
waiting on someone
to send me a boat

There is a great line in their bio about their philiosophy in making music. “A punk aesthetic – a desire not to overdo songs until they’re shiny with emptiness – is the band’s defining feature,” I’ve been looking for a concise statement to describe why I love the certain types of music I do. I couldn’t have said it any better.



Water Liars announce new s/t album

December 16, 2013

Around HearYa HQ, Water Liars are held in some pretty high regard. We liked their last effort, Wyoming, a whole bunch – making it the number three album of 2013. To have a new album to dig into so soon is just simply fantastic. Their s/t third album will be out on Feb. 4th via […]

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Water Liars – Wyoming [Album Review, SxSW]

March 12, 2013

Water Liars is a sound bigger than two men, two beards, two cigarettes and a tallboy in a bag. Wyoming (released on March 5) is their second LP, but my first introduction to the duo of Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Andrew Bryant. The two formed in Mississippi and recorded outside of Oxford with engineer, Bruce Watson, […]

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