To All the Sailors We've Lost

Paper Anthem

Joseph Hitchcock has always been inspired in short, furious bursts, so when what he claims was a haunted piano gave him twenty-five impassioned songs, he didn't stop to ask too many questions. The sole songwriting force behind the geographically-confused indie-rock project says that the first twelve songs landed on his 2015 debut—aptly titled By Ghosts—but the remaining thirteen sat in agonizing slumber until they were finally birthed in September 2019.

"I always know very early on which songs go where," he explains. "Though all written together, these new tracks felt very unique to a separate journey."

With his new LP entitled To All the Sailors We've Lost, which was recorded on the west coast of the United States before being mixed and mastered in England, Hitchcock seems to have taken the oceanic theme quite literally. "I wanted the different perspectives," he says. "I'm obsessed with the effect geography has on musical style. Painting it with the color of California and then giving it a UK finish was something I thought was cool."

Indeed, although the new album was written in Arkansas yet produced in San Francisco while Hitchcock was living in Seattle, it will be released while he is on sabbatical in Eastern Europe.

Hitchcock, the son of a Blues-singer father and a poet mother, has storytelling in his blood. "I view an album as a movie," he says. "I've been making YouTube shorts of questionable quality for over a decade now, and that bleeds into everything I do." He thinks of songs as scenes in a larger tapestry, though they're never written that way. "I just try to fit the songs I come up with together as cohesively as possible."

After four years of work he is understandably eager to show off what he's been perfecting. "I just hope it resonates. It took so long to get right."
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By Ghosts

Paper Anthem

Paper Anthem is the brainchild of Fayetteville, Arkansas twenty-something Joseph Hitchcock. The multi-instrumentalist has been making music for as long as he can remember, first taking piano lessons at the age of six. From there, the son of a blues singer learned to play the guitar and found his voice and, after dabbling in roles in other bands here and there, decided it was time to work on some of his personal material. Though the name itself wasn't chosen until November 2014, Paper Anthem began as an emotional outlet in November of 2013 when Joseph first started playing shows to mostly empty bars. Nowadays, the bars aren't so empty.

Though the songs weren't written to connect as an album, they were conceived during a depressive period in Hitchcock's life. His subconscious had found a way to abstractly bottle his thoughts and emotions. Looking at the album as a whole, however, themes emerge and become readily apparent. It appears to take place on an empty Earth where a single soul wanders the desolation in search of something beautiful that, as it turns out, was actually inside his or herself the entire time. This is, perhaps, a reflection of Joseph's feeling of being stuck in a small town, coupled with a long-time fascination with science fiction and fantastical video games that give his lyrics such grand imagery.

Taking inspiration from the likes of Snow Patrol, Foals, Tegan & Sara, Coldplay, Brian Eno, Tom Vek, and more, Hitchcock fuses elements of pop, big beat electronica, piano rock, and even math rock. "Some of my songs are inspired by the way two guitars often work together in math rock, but done on piano instead with my two hands" he says. "When I was a teenager, I listened to a lot of drum and bass and big beat electronica, and I think the way those songs add instruments one-by-one and build influenced me greatly, because I find myself doing that on songs like 'Cardboard Cove', 'Pantheon', and 'Speechless'."
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To All the Sailors We've Lost

Paper Anthem

Hitchcock toys with folk, post-rock, and ragtime in his 2019 sophomore release. Indie rock and art rock collide in this loose concept album reflecting on the turbulent final days of a relationship.

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