I wasn’t aware of the background of Ugly Casanova before we got sent their latest song, the easygoing “Lay Me Down” from the upcoming film 180° South. If you’re unaware, let me give you a brief rundown:
Isaac Brock, of Modest Mouse fame, told the story that the band had met a man named Ernest Graham backstage at a show in Denver. After some prodding, Graham started playing some of his music before shows. A few recordings were made, after which Graham disappeared. In an effort to bring him out again, Brock recorded Graham’s songs under the moniker Ugly Casanova, which was Graham’s nickname.
This all, of course, turned out to be false, and was merely a way for Brock to avoid having to do interviews about the music. Ugly Casanova has turned into a supergroup of sorts, with members of Califone, Red Red Meat and The Black Heart Procession all joining in. To this point, the band has released only one full length – 2002’s Sharpen Your Teeth – but with the upcoming film, the band is set to release 8 new songs as a part of the soundtrack.
Musically, the track starts with banjo, Brock’s voice, and then some muted trumpet and some clapping and stomping about halfway through. It’s relaxed, and an interesting forum to hear Brock’s normally manic delivery in. I’m reminded of how Eddie Vedder sounded on the Into the Wild soundtrack.
The soundtrack also has songs from Mason Jennings, James Mercer, Love as Laughter and Jack Johnson. If you go to the film’s website, you can get the Mason Jennings track for free by signing up for the mailing list.