Four years ago, when native Oregonian Collin Hegna signed up for the part of bassist in the chaotic, ever-revolving line-up of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, he was likely unaware that the touring process would—like Jack Torrance's life at The Overlook Hotel—be all work and no play (especially for a band like BJM, where playing the part of an archetypal, dysfunctional band is work in and of itself). The gig-after-gig, no cultural-experience-allowed routine of one of BJM's extensive European tours was the final straw for the bassist. Perhaps as Hegna looking out at the Swiss countryside from the windows of BJM's tour bus, pawing at the glass, he decided that he would start a band that could do something conceptual without having to always bust its ass on the road.
And then he started Federale.
Simultaneously inspired by childhood memories of meandering on his grandfather's Oregon farm and the Spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone, Hegna found a group of musicians to track the score to a non-existent film, La Rayar: A Tale of Revenge
. In the fictional film, protagonist Santiago's (the first track on "Music from La Rayar" is called "Santiago's Theme") is destroyed. In turn, he seeks out his revenge through extreme violence. It may sound a little vague, but after listening to the whole album (in which each song represents a different theme or moment in the film), you start to realize that Federale is just giving you a template for making up the details of La Rayar
on your own. Damn. That's awesome.
Giving you "The Road to Battle" (the second to last track on the record) as our cut of the day might be cheating a little. It's like we've fast-forwarded to the best part of La Rayar
, wherein a focused Santiago rushes on horseback across the Arizonan desert against a dawn-lit backdrop of threatening buttes and mesas to meet face-to-face with the man responsible for the death of his family.