If you’ve been reading WTD for any length of time you might recognise the name Ben Seretan. He has been releasing what can only be described as euphoric electrified gospel drone for a while now, both solely and collaboratively, and was even kind enough to be part of our Quiet, Constant Friends project. Seretan’s music is all about making the most of life, grasping the good and shedding the bad to allow your time to be as light and bright as possible. Indeed, he described his self-titled debut as a wide-as-a-city flag planted in the stony outcrop of life, using sincerity and positivity and bare-chested honesty to create something wonderful and uplifting. As we wrote in our review: “The only way to enable real connection is to stand out in the open, trusting that those you meet feel the same way. The only way is not to hide. And let it be known: there is nowhere to hide on the stone face of an outcrop, especially when you are holding aloft a gigantic flag full of sequins.”

Bowl of Plums, his latest album set for release this Friday (24th June), was written and recorded across the breadth of America, from an Alaskan island and Californian condo to a greeting card factory in Queens and a pharmaceutical factory in Brooklyn. The geographic variation translates into the music, the songs feeling like a collection of singles rather than a cohesive album, a kind of greatest hits compilation which draws from every sound, sight and second from Seretan’s recent life. As he explains in the press release: “Each track seems to me to hint at a nonexistent record that might have been made in the last two years. These are the best of them, the shiniest plums. The greatest moments.”

We’re delighted to share the title track ahead of Friday’s release, a song Seretan describes as the “guiding light for the whole album”.  And it’s not difficult to understand why. The song is constructed from a multitude of small details, dreams and snapshots and sensations, which knit together into a kind of abstract storyboard for good times. Or a vivid representation of life’s sunny side. A shiny plum indeed.

“My friends call me when they’re feeling low
We talk quietly for hours and walk the room
Flowers growing in a coffee can
Our lives are wonderful and sad sometimes
I’m so happy I could cry
A bowl of plums on the table”

You can pre-order Bowl of Plums now from the Ben Seretan Bandcamp page, including on bright yellow vinyl (as below), or on cassette from Hope For The Tape Deck. For those of us across the pond, Italian label Love Boat Records is putting out an EU vinyl edition, in light blue, which will work out much cheaper than importing. You can snag that on the Love Boat Bandcamp page. Finally, if you are in or around New York on the 24th, be sure to pop along to the Bowl of Plums release show at Shea Stadium to celebrate the album. Support comes from Vita and The Woolf, Wet Leather and Uni Ika Ai.

benseretan
Cover photo by Michele Mirisola, design by Alex Tatusian