Best known as the frontman of British-based indie act Kins, the Melbourne, Australia-born and now Stockholm, Sweden-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer Thomas Savage received attention with his solo recording project Vilde, which found Savage’s sound and overall aesthetic drawing from Radiohead, Wild Beasts, TV on the Radio, BØRNS and Tim Hecker — but with a warm take to the moody atmospherics that he dubbed “study-dance.” Now, if you had been frequenting this site last year, you may recall that Savage’s full-length debut eschewed the traditional album release format in which an artist releases a few singles, then puts out an album several months later; rather, much like JOVM mainstays The Raveonettes and Rene Lopez, he released a new single off the album every single month, and one of those singles, the Kid A-era Radiohead-like “Maintain” was a bit more of an uptempo affair with arpeggiated synth chords, a propulsive rhythm section and Savage’s plaintive, falsetto vocals floating over an icy mix.
Thud is Savage’s first proper album, and the album which is slated for a July 13, 2018 release found the Australian-born, Swedish-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer superimposing the album’s overarching themes onto the material’s lyrics — and as he explains in press notes, that was an altogether much more natural process. “I hadn’t any idea for a theme in the beginning, the conscious element in the process is quite limited. It’s mostly reliant upon feeling resonance in the words rather than a specific line of thought. Sometimes I bring in more conscious thinking, but if I really succeed, they somehow manage to fall into linear coherency. I’m in it for the feeling of experiencing and what poured out of me afterwards, rather than attempting to express any sort of certainty. If I was certain about something, I supposed it’d be better as a novel.” Interestingly, throughout the writing and recording of the album, there was a recurrent element — “our relationship to technology and social media. I feel like the record almost became a plea for people to down their phones and speak to each other, or to just sit and think,” Savage adds. “But if this is the future for us, one should just accept it right?”
“Warm Milk,” Thud’s latest single is centered around a propulsive, motorik-like groove, shuffling beats, shimmering electronics and Savage’s plaintive vocals — but unlike his previously released material, not only does the song bring Peter Gabriel 3 and Security-era Peter Gabriel, Barbarossa and others to my mind (at least to my ears), it’s a deeply unsettling track meant to evoke the creeping dread and anxiety of being alone — and yet, when we’re constantly plugged into the digital realm, we’re always alone and never truly connecting with others.
Created by Elin Ghersinich and Thomas Savage, the recently released video is claustrophobic and unsettling as its centered around imagery of liquids being poured — at one point, the aforementioned white milk but cut with footage of Savage shot in an tightly cropped closeups in a dark, almost dungeon-like bathroom, full of self-loathing, regret and desperate loneliness. When we see Savage, it’s much like seeing a man struggling with his own warped, fractured psyche and emotions — and losing.