Porter Block’s new album is like a Gowanus music club

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Only Peter Block would find his inspiration in the murky Gowanus Canal.

The fetid corpse of water lends its name — and its rugged good looks — to the new album from Block’s (sort-of) self-titled band, Porter Block.

But the band’s fourth LP, “The Gowanus Yacht Club” isn’t about the canal (despite its depiction on the cover) — it’s more about the club.

The 11-cut record features a collaboration with a different Brooklyn artist on every track — hence the “club” idea.

Some “club” members are well known (like Angela McCluskey from the French pop group Telepopmusik), others not so much.

“Some of the songwriters I knew and had worked with before, others were people that I admired,” said Block. “The whole vibe gets captured in the song and I hope people hear it.”

Brooklynites will, he believes. To promote the Fountains of Wayne-influenced record, Porter Block performed all over the borough this summer — including shows at the Northside Festival and Spike Hill in Williamsburg, Bar 4 in Park Slope, and a listening party at the Bushwick Country Club — and Block said the band always got a good response from the locals.

“It’s more friendly [to play in Brooklyn],” said Block. “People in Brooklyn really come out to see original music.”

There’s plenty of it. Most of Block’s collaborators have set up shop in the borough, just as he did two years ago at his studio, called the Gowanus Carriage House.

When he’s not playing or recording, you can sometimes find Peter Block at the Smith Street bar that gives the album its formal title.

“The Yacht Club is just down the street from my studio,” he said. “It’s a cool place, with burgers, hot dogs and beer.”

The guy is so in love with Brooklyn that he even loves his neighborhood subway.

“I love walking from the F train,” said Block. “I can hear birds chirping.”

Whatever floats your boat.

Porter Block’s new CD is available at Music Matters [413 Seventh Ave. between 13th and 14th streets in Park Slope, (718) 369-7087].

Updated 6:16 pm, August 6, 2009
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