AARON WEST and THE ROARING TWENTIES master melancholy on new single ‘Whiplash’

AARON WEST and THE ROARING TWENTIES master melancholy on new single ‘Whiplash

New album ‘In Lieu Of Flowers’ out April 12th

UK tour dates in May

photo by Mitchell Wojcik

A triumphant kind of melancholy colours In Lieu Of Flowers, the upcoming album from Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties, as if somewhere beyond our main character’s suffering lies his happy ending. The project is a work of narrative fiction by primary songwriter and mastermind Dan Campbell (The Wonder Years). Every gig and every person in every room has an effect on where the story could go next.

On their new song, ‘Whiplash’, out today, Aaron is hiding his drinking again, buried underneath the weight of his decisions in the months after finishing the band’s UK tour by himself––an arc captured on the band’s most recent single, ‘Alone at St. Luke’s.’

Co-written by runnner.‘s Noah Henry Weinman, ‘Whiplash’ is the album’s eye of the storm––a somber moment that sets up the chain of events to follow.It’s masterfully executed with pedal steel and a heartbreaking falsetto chorus; an achy and pensive ballad that ruminates in the uncertainty of whatever comes next.



Aaron West is both a band and a story, and In Lieu Of Flowers is both an album and a concept opera. It’s an ode to the underdog, à la the Mountain GoatsAll Hail West Texas or the WeakerthansReunion Tour.

“What makes the storytelling come alive is the buy-in,” Dan explains, comparing the project to pro-wrestling. “There’s this arena full of people and they know that person in the ring isn’t an undead zombie mortician. It’s a guy, his name isMark, but they buy into it because that mass suspension of disbelief is where the magic is.”

To understand the story of In Lieu Of Flowers is to know where Aaron’s path has taken him so far. It all begins with the worst year of his life, marked by profound loss––grief, divorce and miscarriage––detailed on his 2014 debut, We Don’t Have Each Other, and 2016’s Bittersweet (EP).

2019’s Routine Maintenance begins a new chapter for Aaron, albeit short-lived. After a bar fight lands him in jail and he has no one to call, Aaron heads to Los Angeles for a fresh start where he occupies his time between crappy jobs and open mic nights. On the road playing gigs, he forms a band and they start to gain some traction before another blow hits his family––the loss of his brother-in-law.

He finds a new purpose in the aftermath; “I’m going to be someone you can count on for a change,” he sings on the album’s closing title track.

The new album picks up where Routine Maintenance left off, starting from the solo tours that Dan went on shortly after its release––on stage, he talked about leaving the band to care for his grieving sister Catherine and nephew Colin, but that solo touring felt like shit. The band soon got back together––as documented on their Live From Asbury Park album recorded over the course of two December 2019 shows.

In the interceding years, Aaron is forced to finally tend to the wounds he’s ignored for over a decade, and that brings us to In Lieu of Flowers.

It’s a triumphant kind of melancholy that colors this entire record as Aaron learns that things don’t go away just because you ignore them. Its message is driven home thanks to the 16-piece band that helped bring it to life with guitar, accordion, keys, banjo, pedal steel, trumpets, trombone, saxophone, cello, and violin.


1. Smoking Rooms

2. Roman Candles

3. Paying Bills at the End of the World

4. Monogahela Park

5. Alone at St. Luke’s

6. Whiplash

7. Spitting in the Wind

8. I’m an Albatross

9. Runnin’ Out of Excuses

10. In Lieu of Flowers

11. Dead Leaves





17: MANCHESTER Deaf Institute

18: GLASGOW St Luke’s

19: LEEDS The Key Club


22: LONDON Underworld

23: BRISTOL Exchange