Death by Piano is an up-and-coming New York-based dark wave duo comprised of Kalen Lister (vocals, keys) and Greywolf, a multi-instrumentalist and producer. With the release of their latest EP, The Countdown, the duo have established themselves with an atmospheric sound that’s centered around sleek and minimalist electronic production, including skittering beats, chopped up samples, soulful blasts of guitar, moody strings and synths, and Lister’s pop star belter vocals. Interestingly, EP title track “The Countdown” is a perfect example of the sound that has begun to win the duo attention, complete with an infectious, radio-friendly hook that reminds me a bit of the classic 4AD Records sound mixed with JOVM mainstay Holy War. However, as the duo explain “‘Countdown’ is the first song we wrote together. It’s about leaving behind what you thought life might be and embracing the now. It’s about embracing change. External and internal. Facing what you fear to find more freedom.”
Directed by Robert Lester, the recently released video is a decidedly retro-futuristic and New Age-y treatment that features Lister dressed as a cyborg/alien along with her bandmate, performing the song in front of a screen, playing psychedelic imagery. It’s interspersed with a humanoid character, wandering the woods. It’s trippy yet futuristic take on the familiar, much like the duo’s sound.