Last year, he also contributed to 24 Hour Service Station's recent compilation project Ceremony -- A New Order Tribute. For that, he covered New Order's 1986 track "All Day Long," converting it into a art-damaged folk-rocker.
It was for a good cause too, in memory of Factory Records' late founder, Tony Wilson -- part of the proceeds from sales of the 32-track double disc benefit the Salford Foundation Trust's Tony Wilson Awards.
Still, Ralston's full comeback came to fruition yesterday when he unveiled a
" is notably stripped down compared to his earlier work, but its instantaneous sing-along chorus and galloping drums hint at the glory that might soon follow on the record.
The record is a long time in the making. Last year, he posted on his blog, Recording Wild and Free, that he had completed the follow-up to his 2008 EP, White Spiders. At the time, Ralston stated that he had 18 records "almost done" and that the collection of songs for Shadows of the Summertime was finished and being mastered by producer Alex Lowe (Cee-Lo, Lil Jon).
Ralston also noted that he had recorded in New Orleans at Listen Up! Studios with producer Michael Seaman, who worked on his 2007 album, Sorry Vampire. Though that was a multilayered masterpiece, Ralston wrote that it was in fact his latest record that was "the best [he] had been a part of."
So what took so long to unveil it? Ralston confessed to us earlier today that he had delayed releasing the record because of "burnout" from the amount of touring he had done the previous three years. The candid musician also admitted that he was "bummed out" by Vagrant Records, which released Sorry Vampire, for not renewing his contract.
"In the end, they didn't sell enough of my records to warrant signing me on for another record," said Ralston about the California label. Ralston, though, does not bear any grudges and saw it as an opportunity to start from scratch.
He says that he has received a couple of offers for Shadows of the Summertime but that none thus far was "anything to get stoked about." So for the time being, he's content keeping this record a DIY effort, the same recipe for success he used for his stunning debut, Needle Bed.
"If the record is good enough on its own merits, I think people will find it," he says. So here's how you can find it: You can purchase the album now on Ralston's website, either on vinyl (hand-numbered, limited to 500 copies) or on preorder for a physical CD. You can also get a digital copy on his Bancamp page. Try before you buy, and stream it all via Bandcamp below.