New Audio: Seattle’s Nostalgist Releases a Shimmering and Brooding Single

Nostalgist is a Seattle, WA-based post-punk/shoegaze act led by founding member and primary songwriter Asa Eisenhardt (vocals, guitar)  — and with the release of 2013’s Monochromatic EP and 2015’s Of Love and Days Ago, the Seattle-based project received attention for a heavy and moody sound that’s been influenced by Lowlife, Slowdive, Lycia, The Comsat Angels, The Chameleons, Killing Joke, Fields of the Nephilim, Hum and Red House Painters among others.

Recorded and mixed throughout 2016 and 2017, Disaffection, the long-awaited follow up to Of Love and Days Ago features guest spots from renowned drummer Aesop Dekker, who’s been a member of Khorada, Worm Ouroboros, Extremity and a former member of ex-Agalloch; Alex Entrekin (drums), who joined on as the project’s new drummer; and Monte McCleery (bass) who’s also a member of Seattle-based doom act Un. Interestingly, the effort features five originals and a cover of Catherine Wheel’s “Texture.” Disaffection‘s second and latest single “Smoldering Amber” finds the band drawing from post-punk, shoegaze and grunge, as the song is centered around a familiar structure — quiet, loud, quiet, with the quieter verses featuring towering and shimmering guitar chords over which Eisenhardt’s mournful vocals ethereally float over, and the blistering power chord-based chorus, held together with a propulsive rhythm section and arpeggiated synths. Without a doubt, the song will immediately bring 120 Minutes-era MTV to mind with a cinematic quality; but underneath the surface is a plaintive and aching yearning that gives the song a Romantic quality.

As Nostalgist’s Asa Eisenhardt says in press notes, “This is the most lyrically intimate thing I’ve written to date. As with many of my songs, it chronicles the beginning, middle and end of some manner of relationship, but here the words are especially dramatic (even for me, ha) and visceral. Infatuation is the most central theme. The instrumental arrangement emphasizes a dub rhythm in the verses, and I expect that influence to become even more prominent in future material. Dub was an enormous influence on ’80s post-punk, so following the throughline from bands I hold near and dear as influences (Comsat Angels, The Chameleons and Killing Joke to name but a few) and investigating that sound continues to be a natural progression for me.”

“At the same time, I do my best to really blend things up when I write, and both the mix and contrast of the heavy and the ethereal in ‘Smoldering Amber’ is easily the most pronounced of the songs on Disaffection. The verse section is minimal and grooving, but the chorus is huge and lumbering. The bridge is fragile and deliberate, the outro is hard-charging, uptempo and intertwined with synth melody. Dynamics are another dimension of musical color one can explore and manipulate, really. All in all, I think this track is especially exemplary of our elemental makeup”.
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