Tag: Sub Pop Records

New Video: An Intimate Portrait of Life on the Road with The Head and the Heart in New Visuals for “City of Angels”

Currently comprised of founding member Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Matt Geravis, Charity Rose Thielen (violin, guitar, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (keys) and Tyler Williams (drums), the Seattle, WA-based indie folk/indie rock act The Head and the Heart can trace their origins to a series of open mic nights at Conor Byrne Pub back in 2009. At the time Russell, who had relocated from Richmond, VA and the band’s other founding member Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), who had relocated from Southern California were relatively recent transplants. Russell and Johnson met Hensley, who also was a relatively recent transplant, who had relocated the previous year to pursue film score writing. Thielen, was the next member to join, and she had recently returned from a year abroad studying in Paris. Williams had been a member of Richmond, VA-based band Prabir and The Substitutes, but after Russell sent him a demo of “Down In The Valley,” Williams quickly relocated to Seattle to join the new band. The last member of the original line, Zasche was a bartender at the Conor Byrne and was member of Seattle-based bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway. Interestingly enough, as Johnson explained the band’s name came from an relatable situation in which “Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, you know in your heart that this [the band] is what you’re supposed to do, even if it’s crazy.” 

Since their formation the band has released three full-length albums — 2010’s self-titled and initially self-released debut (which later caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who re-issued it), 2013’s Let’s Be Still and 2016’s major label debut, Signs of Light with each record seeing greater attention and the band building a growing profile; they’ve opened for Vampire Weekend, The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Dave Matthews, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie and Tom Petty and Heartbreakers among a lengthening list of acclaimed acts. Along with that, the band has seen quite a bit of critical and commercial success — their self-tiled debut reached #110 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks with  Let’s Be Still landed at #10 on the Billboard 200 and each album has been well received to boot. 

2017 may be arguably be one of the bigger years in the band’s history as they’ve played the historic Newport Folk Festival and Coachella, and are in the middle of an extensive tour that includes stops at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Lollapalooza and a bunch of other stops. (Check out the tour dates below.)  In the meantime, the band’s latest single “City of Angels” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for a sound that  simultaneously nods at 70s era Fleetwood Mac, 60s psych folk and pop, arena rock and contemporary indie rock, but with a swooning earnestness; after all, their latest single like all of the preceding singles is written from a sincere place; in this case, a bittersweet longing for a home you’ve left some time ago — but underneath there’s a growing sense that you may never be able to come home again. 

The recently released video was directed by Claire Marie Vogel, and its an charming and  intimate, fly-on-the-wall like portrait of the band that captures them in a variety of moments both big and small. As the director says in press notes, “When The Head And The Heart asked me to join them on the road to make a video for ‘City of Angels,’ there were many moments, big and small, that made it a trip of a lifetime. Record store shopping in a thunderstorm, backstage birthday parties, a summer ski lift through Catskills mountains, all night bonfires on a California beach, surprise songs in a Charlottesville bar, mini golf beside a river. It was a thrill to be a welcomed fly on the wall and treated as one of the gang. I knew ending the trip at the Monterey Pop Festival would be special, but when we found ourselves in a charmingly odd practice room – the band rehearsing with Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and Lou Adler, a founder of the festival throwing his two cents in on their arrangement — it felt utterly surreal.”

Advertisements

Over the past handful of years, I’ve written a handful of posts featuring the Cincinnati, OH-based, JOVM mainstay act The Afghan Whigs. Currently comprised of founding members Greg Dulli (guitar, vocals) and John Curley (bass) along  Jon Skibic (guitar), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and Cully Symington (drums), the band can trace their origins to when its founding trio of Dulli, Curley and Steve Earle founded the band in 1986, after the breakup of Dulli’s previous band, The Black Republicans. Interestingly, the band has the distinction of being one of the first bands that Sub Pop Records signed outside of the Pacific Northwest, as well as being one of the more highly-regarded and critically applauded bands of the early 90s, with 1993’s Gentlemen landing at number 17 on The Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop critics list and 1996’s Black Love, landing at number 79 on the Billboard Top 200 — all while going through several lineup changes. 

After the band’s initial breakup in 2001, the members of the band went on with other creative pursuits — with Dulli famously collaborating with Mark Lanegan in The Gutter Twins, his other post-Afghan Whigs project, The Twilight Singers and with a lengthy list of contemporary artists; however, the members of the band would occasionally reunite for a series of one-off shows and festivals sets that eventually lead to 2014’s Do To The Beast, which marked the band’s first proper release in over 16 years, and the band’s return to their original label home, Sub Pop Records. And while being one of my favorite albums that year — and one of the more forceful rock album of 2014 — the album’s material centered around Dulli’s long-held obsessions.

Released earlier this year, In Spades is the Cincinnati-based indie rock band’s second post-reunion album, and the album, which was produced by the band’s Greg Dulli reportedly finds the band emphasizing a decidedly populist, arena rock-leaning sensibility while retaining the urgent, dark and seductive sound they’ve long been known for; but with an underlying spectral vibe. ““It’s a spooky record,” Dulli remarks in press notes. “I like that it’s veiled. It’s not a concept album per se, but as I began to assemble it, I saw an arc and followed it. To me, it’s about memory — in particular, how quickly life and memory can blur together.”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about the album’s first single “Demon In Profile,” a single that evokes the lingering ghosts of one’s life — but in particular, the electric touch of a lover’s skin against your own; that lover’s smell and taste, and the sense of irrevocable loss that permeates everything, once they’re no longer in your life. But interestingly enough, it may be the rare Afghan Whigs song that directly reveals a classic soul influence, as they paired their enormous sound with an explosive yet strutting horn line. The album’s second single “Oriole” featured Greg Dulli singing occult and death riddled lyrics paired with a lush and cinematic arrangement of acoustic guitar, xylophone and a soaring string section paired with a power chord-based anthemic, electric guitar-based hook — with the result being a song that meshes 60s bubble gum pop and 90s alt rock.

The Cincinnati, OH-based band’s latest single “You Want Love” was originally released by the New Orleans-based Pleasure Club on their second and final album together, and the Afghan Whigs’ rendition of the song features the song’s original vocal and songwriter James Hall — and interestingly enough, the song has become both a staple of their live set during their ongoing tour, and a tribute to the band’s Dave Rosser, who recently died after a battling colon cancer. As the band’s Greg Dulli has recently mentioned publicly, he and Rosser had been fans of the long defunct New Orleans-based band, and they had talked about covering the song for years; but they just never found the opportunity to put it on wax — until recently.  Of course, once you hear the original, you’ll know why Dulli and Rosser dug the song so much; it sounds and feels much like it should have been a Whigs song.
Next week will begin another extended leg of touring, which will have the band in Europe throughout August, including a stop at the gorgeous Paradiso in Amsterdam and a handful of festival sets, followed by some extensive North American touring, which will have the band playing Brooklyn Steel on September 16, 2017. Check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates
Aug. 04 – Vienna, AT – WUK
Aug. 05 – Prague, CZ – Lucerna Music Bar
Aug. 06 – Zurich, CH – Mascotte
Aug. 08 – Munich, DE – Backstage Halle
Aug. 09 – Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
Aug 11 – Gothenburg, SE – Way Out West Festival
Aug 12 – Rees, DE – Haldern Pop Festival
Aug 13 – Helsinki, FL – Flow Festival
Aug 15 – Nottingham, UK – Rescue Rooms
Aug 16 – Leeds, UK – Church
Aug 17 – Brighton, UK – Concorde 2
Aug 19 – Kiewit, BE – Pukkelpop
Sep 06 – Orlando, FL – The Social
Sep 07 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
Sep 08 – Raleigh, NC – Hopscotch Music Festival
Sep 09 – Washington DC – 9:30 Club
Sep 11 – Richmond, VA – The National
Sep 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Sep 14 – Boston, MA – Paradise
Sep 16 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
Sep-18 – Montreal, QC – Theatre Fairmount
Sep 19 – Toronto, ON – Opera House
Sep 21 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave
Sep 22 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Sep 23 – Chicago, IL – Metro
Sep 24 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
Sep 26 – Detroit, MI – St Andrews
Sep 28 – Cincinnati, OH – Bogarts
Sep 29 – Nashville, TN – Exit IN
Sep 30 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
Oct 12 – San Diego, CA – Belly Up
Oct 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre
Oct 14 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Oct 16 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Oct 17 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
Oct 18 – Seattle, WA – Showbox
Oct 19 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
Oct 21 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
Oct 22 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
Oct 24 – Austin, TX – Mohawk
Oct 25 – Dallas, TX – Trees
Oct 26 – Houston, TX – Heights Theater
Oct 27-29 – New Orleans, LA – Voodoo Festival

 

Now, if you’ve frequenting this site over the past four years or so, you’ve come across a number of posts featuring the Seattle, WA-based JOVM mainstays Shabazz Palaces. Comprised of Digable Planets‘ Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire, the son of Dumisani Maraire, the project continues Butler’s long-held reputation for being uncompromisingly different and for crafting material with pro-Black messages.

The duo of Butler and Maraire quietly released two albums in 2009 — their self-titled debut and Of Light, which caught the attention of renowned indie label Sub Pop Records, who signed the act, and released 2011’s Black Up, an effort released to critical applause for its kaleidoscopic and hallucinogenic production paired with Butler’s witty and incredibly dexterous flow. While continuing to cement Butler’s and Mariare’s reputation for crafting incredibly weird, psychedelic hip hop, 2014’s Lese Majesty was a decided change in sonic direction with much of the material possessing an eerie cosmic glow with even heavier low end — intergalactic trap, perhaps? Along with the decided change of direction, the duo offered a bold challenge to contemporary hip-hop artists. As Butler told NPR during an interview about Lese Majesty, “This endeavor that I pursue, that we all pursue in Shabazz Palaces, make no mistake, this is an attack. We’re trying to show off and really stunt on all other rappers and let them know that this is our style, this is what we do and we’re ready to put it up against anybody else’s stuff.”

Some time had passed since I had last written about Shabazz Palaces; after all, both Maraire and Butler had been busy with their own separate creative pursuits — in 2015 Maraire and a group of collaborators wrote and released material with his side project,  Chimurenga Renaissance and Butler has been on a reunion run with the members of Digable Planets, which has continued through this year with several stops in NYC. (Digable Planets played a free show at Greenpoint Brooklyn’s House of Vans earlier this month and they’ll be playing a SummerStage later this summer.)  Somehow, Butler and Maraire managed to set aside some time to write new material and record material for two albums —  Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star and Quarzarz vs. The Jealous Machines, which will see a simultaneous release on July 14, 2017 through Sub Pop Records.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Shine A Light,” the first single off Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star, and while continuing the duo’s long-running collaboration with soul outfit Thadillac, who contribute a lush, dusty, old-school soul-leaning arrangement featuring shimmering strings, a strutting bass line, warm psychedelic guitar blasts, shuffling drum beats, and a retro-futuristic-like hook consisting of distorted, vocoder-filtered vocals, the single thematically is part of a surreal yet politically-charged concept album that introduces the listener to and then tells the tale of Quazarz, a sentient being from far away, who’s sent to be an observer and musical emissary with a mission to explore and chronicle the things he sees and experiences,subtly echoing the  cult-classic film The Brother From Another Planet and Alexis De Tocqueville‘s Democracy in America; however, what our otherworldly emissary finds is a bizarre, cutthroat landscape of brutality, conformity, alternative facts, hypocrisy, greed, suffering, selfishness and death masquerading as patriotism and connectivity. And as result, Quazarz finds himself feeling increasingly horrified and out of place and within a world that is unfathomably hellish and unfair.

Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines is for all intents and purposes, a spiritual and thematic twin of sorts. Produced by Butler and Sunny Levine and recorded at Seattle’s Protect and Exalt Labs: A Black Space and Dror Lord Studios in Marina Del Rey, CA and featuring guest spots from Chimuregna Renaissance’s Fly Guy Dai, Amir Yaghamai, John Carroll Kirby, Thaddillac, Morgan Henderson, The Shogun Shot, Laz, and Purple Tape Nate, the album continues with the tell of our otherworldly musical emissary Quarzarz and in his further explorations of modern life, he discovers a world in which humankind’s relationship with technology has become both co-dependent and strangely sensual, as it seduces people to be sedentary, thoughtless, uninspired to do anything to change their individual plight, let alone change the world, and having their creativity and life stolen from them. Along with a bunch of misfit cohorts, the protagonist leads a rising collective “hell no,” to the device and the guilds that proliferate them. The album’s first single “30 Clip Extension” was arguably one of the strangest songs that Butler and Maraire as the song featured a minimalist producing consisting wobbling and tumbling low end, stuttering drum programming, enormous beats and shimmering synths paired with Butler’s imitable flow alternating between surrealistic poetry and rhyming — while describing an arrogant, vain, ostentatious, drug addled rapper, who’s controlled by an unseen conspiracy of exterior and interior forces.

“Since C.A.Y.A.,” Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star‘s latest single continues on a similar vein as the preceding singles, in the sense that it’s trippy and odd as hell but with an elastic-like looseness that nods at the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — although just under the surface is a subtle sense of menace. Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner contributes wobbling hyper-futuristic bass lines to the sparsely minimalist production that allows Butler enough room to rhyme both about his narrator’s  legendary and surreal past and present, but in which he sees himself as a black person in a dangerous and weird world that fetishes and abhors him.  And they manage to do so while nodding at the weirdness of Beck and The Flaming Lips.

Comprised of Joey La Neve DeFrancesco, Norlan Olivo, Mary Regalado and Victoria Ruiz, the Providence, RI-based punk rock quartet Downtown Boys have developed a growing national reputation for writing protest music centering on their own experiences as young, queer, Chicana and Latino artists, musicians and people within an extremely whitewashed, cis-male, heterosexual world — especially within rock; in fact, throughout the course of the band’s first two albums, they’ve called on their fans whether newfound or diehard to join the struggle to smash racism, homophobia, queerphobia, exploitative capitalism, fascism, ignorance and boredom and more that have closed people’s minds, hearts and souls off to themselves and others.

Produced by Fugazi‘s Guy Picciotto, the band’s forthcoming third, full-length effort Cost of Living, which is slated for an August 11, 2017 through Sub Pop Records will further cement their reputation for crafting serious, incendiary and cathartic yet fun music in which their youthful, urgent and passionate energy is paired with their sociopolitical ideals.   Lyrically inspired by Assata Shakur’s poem “i believe in living,” Cost of Living‘s opening track and first single “The Wall,” finds the band sonically drawing from The Clash, Wire and others while the chorus and hook is repeated mantra-like “A wall is just a wall/A wall is just a wall . . .” boldly calling out Donald Trump’s “Great Wall,” and his supporters for its blatant stupidity; but it also serves as a righteous and powerful reminder that though the wall is symbolically meant to crush the humanity, dreams and desires of an entire groups of people, that as long as people are people, brick and barb wire can never crush their humanity.

As much as we all may want and need to have mindless fun, the members of Downtown Boys are actively creating some of the most forceful and necessary material of the resistance.

The band will be on tour throughout the entire summer and fall and it includes two NYC are stops — June 9, 2017 at the Pitchfork Northside Festival Showcase at Saint Vitus and July 12, 2017 at House of Vans. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
Tour Dates
6/9: Brooklyn, NY @ Pitchfork Northside Fest Showcase @ St. Vitus
6/16: Ashfield, MA @ The Ashfield Lake House
6/17: Providence, RI @ Aurora
7/12: Brooklyn, NY @ House of Vans
8/19: Omaha, NE @ Maha Festival
9/2 – 9/3: Philadelphia, PA @ Made In America Festival
9/15 – 9/17: Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest
9/23: Los Angeles, CA @ Summer Happenings at The Broad
10/9: Leffinge, Belgium @ Cafe De Zwerver
10/10: Paris, France @ Le Point Ephemere
10/11: Brighton, UK @ The Haunt
10/12: Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
10/13: Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
10/14: Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
10/16: Dublin, Ireland @ The Workman’s Club
10/17: Liverpool, UK @ The Shipping Forecast
10/18: London, UK @ Dome Tufnell Park
10/19: Sheffield, UK @ Picture House Social Club
10/20: Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
10/21: Bristol, UK @ Simple Things Festival
10/22: Birmingham, UK @ All Years Leaving Festival
10/24: Munster, Germany @ Gleis 22
10/25: Berlin, Germany @ Urban Spree
10/26: Hamburg, Germany @ Hafenklang

Live Footage: Husky Performs Their Gorgeous New Single “Splinters In The Fire”

Over the past five years or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Melbourne, Australia-based indie folk/indie rock act Husky. Initially formed as a quartet featuring is founding members and primary songwriters Husky Gwenda and Gideon Preiss (keys, vocals), along with Evan Tweedie (bass, vocals) and Luke Collins (drums) filling out the band’s original lineup, the quartet quickly received national attention and acclaim after they won Triple J’s Unearthed Contest. As the result of a growing national profile, the band played at The Push Over Festival, one of their homeland’s biggest music festivals and they’ve opened for several internationally known touring acts, including Devendra Banhart, Noah and the Whale, The Shins, and Gotye.
The band’s remarkably self-assured and gorgeously lush full-length debut Forever So was released globally through Sub Pop Records — and the album was interestingly enough recorded in a loving DIY fashion with reclaimed recording gear in an abandoned bungalow near Gwenda’s house. The band’s sophomore effort Ruckers Hill further cemented the act’s reputation for incredibly crafted songs possessed effortlessly gorgeous melodies paired with anthemic hooks; however, as you may recall, with the release of “Late Night Store” late last year, the band revealed a massive change in thematic and sonic direction that was influenced by a lineup change that left the band’s founding duo as its sole members, and from the year that Gawenda and Preiss spent living in Berlin. And one of the first things you’d notice if you had been familiar with the renowned Australian band is that while the material off their first two albums was melody-driven, “Late Night Store” was much more hook-driven and featured Gawenda and Preiss employing the of analog synths and electric guitar in what may have been one of their most rock-leaning songs they’ve written and released. Thematically, the song captured the wild array of sensations and emotions most commonly felt when you’re far away from home — in particular, awe, reinvention, danger, of being in the words of Paul Salopek “a traveler, a man from far away” — while evoking the sensation of wandering around all hours of the day and night from jet lag, excitement, boredom and loneliness from hotel room to cafe, from cafe to bar, from bar to nightclub, observing everyone and everything around you; the strange and profound bond you have with others, who are like you, far away from home and are wandering around with the exact same thoughts and feelings reverberating in their heads.

“Ghost,” the band’s first single of 2017 and the second single off the band’s third full-length album Punchbuzz continued in a similar vein as its preceding single as it features shimmering, arpeggio synths, a propulsive bass line, thundering drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook — and while pushing the sound that won them international attention into a contemporary, rock-leaning take, both “Late Night Store” and “Ghost” are among the most personal yet ambitious songwriting of Gawenda’s career.

“Splinters In The Fire,” the soon-to-be released third album’s third and latest single can trace its origins to a guitar line that had been repeating in his head for weeks while the line “Splinters in the fire, summer days in the smoke” kept making its way into the lyrics had been writing. As Gawenda explains in press notes, there was “something about ruthlessness of fire — and time.” And as a result, the song possesses the wistful and sober mood of one coming to grips with the end of relationships, the passing of time and the acceptance of one’s own mortality; after all, all things pass and all things die, and this is is the way of things.

The duo, along with their backing band released a live video of them performing of the song, shot in the gardens of an old, somewhat abandoned mansion near their residence in Melbourne — and from the video, it’s a big rambling place, in which ghosts and spirits haunt and wander about.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past five years or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the  Melbourne, Australia-based indie folk/indie rock act Husky. Initially formed as a quartet featuring founding members and primary songwriters Husky Gawenda (vocals, guitar) and Gideon Preiss (keys, vocals) with Tweedie (bass, vocals) and Luke Collins (drums) filling out the band’s original lineup, the band quickly received national acclaim after winning  Triple J’Unearthed Contest and playing at  The Push Over Festival, one of Australia’s biggest music festivals. Adding to a growing profile, the band opened for severally internationally known touring acts including Devendra Banhart, Noah and the WhaleThe Shins, and Gotye.

 

As the story goes, the band’s remarkably self-assured and gorgeously lush full-length debut Forever So was released globally through Sub Pop Records but it was actually recorded in a lovingly DIY fashion with old recording gear in an abandoned bungalow near Husky Gwenda’s house. The band’s sophomore effort Ruckers Hill further cemented the act’s reputation for incredibly crafted songs that possessed elements of folk, pop and indie rock, along with some gorgeous melodies and rather anthemic hooks; however with up until the release of “Late Night Store” late last year, the band revealed a change in thematic and sonic direction that was influenced by a massive lineup change that left the band’s founding duo as its sole members — and from the year that Gawenda and Preiss spent living in Berlin. Whereas the material off their first two albums was melody- driven, “Late Night Store” was much more hook-driven and featured the band employing the use of synths, keys and electric guitar in what may arguably one of the more rousingly anthemic songs they’ve released. Thematically, the song captured the wild array of sensations and emotions most commonly felt when you’re far away from home — in particular, awe, reinvention, danger, of being in the words of Paul Salopek “a traveler, a man from far away” —  while evoking the sensation of wandering around all hours of the day and night from jet lag, excitement, boredom and loneliness from hotel room to cafe, from cafe to bar, from bar to nightclub, observing everyone and everything around you; the strange and profound bond you have with others, who are like you, far away from home and are wandering around with the exact same thoughts and feelings reverberating in their heads.

 

“Ghost,” the second and latest single off the band’s third full-length effort Punchbuzz, slated for a June 2, 2017 continues in a similar vein as its preceding single as it features shimmering arpeggio synths, a propulsive bass line, thundering drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook — and while being an ambitious and contemporary, indie rock-leaning take on the sound that won them international attention, both singles manage to be among the most personal songwriting of Gawenda’s career. Interestingly, as Gwenda explained to the folks at Clash, “‘Ghost’ is about a process of coming to terms with this half-asleep, half-awake, somewhere between the haunted past and the sunlit possibility of tomorrow, mid-air, mid-dream state. Put simply, I was searching for a way to get free. Free of the past. Free of the future. Free of myself. Whatever that means.”  And as a result, the song possesses an urgent yearning for something that’s not quite there in front of you while hinting at the regrets, mistakes and experiences that accumulate to create a messy, lived-in life.

 

 

 

New Video: The 60s Horror Movie-Inspired Visuals for The Afghan Whigs’ “Oriole”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on the Cincinnati, OH-based, JOVM mainstay act The Afghan Whigs. Currently comprised of founding members Greg Dulli (guitar, vocals) and John Curley (bass) along with Dave Rosser (guitar), Jon Skibic (guitar), multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson and Cully Symington (drums), the band can trace its origins to when its founding trio of Dulli, Curely and Steve Earle (drums) founded the band in 1986, after the breakup of Dulli’s previous band The Black Republicans. Interestingly, the band has the distinction of being one of the first bands that Sub Pop Records signed outside of the Pacific Northwest, as well as being one of the more highly-regarded and critically applauded bands of the early 90s, with 1993’s Gentlemen landing at number 17 on The Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop critics list and 1996’s Black Love, which landed at number 79 on the Billboard Top 200 — all while going through several lineup changes.

After the band’s initial breakup in 2001, the members of the band went on with other creative pursuits — with Dulli famously collaborating with Mark Lanegan in The Gutter Twins, his other post-Afghan Whigs project, The Twilight Singers and with a lengthy list of contemporary artists and others. But after occasionally reuniting for one off shows and festival sets, the band released 2014’s Do To The Beast, which marked both the band’s first proper release in over 16 years and the band’s return to their original label home, Sub Pop Records. While being one of my favorite albums that year — and one of the more forceful albums that year, the album’s material was primarily rooted around Dulli’s angst and bile-fueled lyrics, focusing on some of his long-held obsessions.

Slated for a May 5, 2017 release through Sub Pop, In Spades is the band’s second post-reunion album, and the album, which was produced by the band’s Greg Dulli reportedly finds the band emphasizing a decidedly pop/arena rock-friendly sensibility while retaining the dark, seductive and urgent feel that they’ve long been known for. “It’s a spooky record,” notes Dulli. “I like that it’s veiled. It’s not a concept album per se, but as I began to assemble it, I saw an arc and followed it. To me, it’s about memory — in particular, how quickly life and memory can blur together.” Earlier this month, I wrote about the album’s first single “Demon In Profile,” a single that evokes life’s long-lingering ghosts — the electric touch of a lover’s skin against your own; your former lover’s smell and the sense of loss that seems to permeate everything, once they’re no longer in your life; how loss and longing are inescapable and make simply letting go difficult. And while clearly drawing from classic soul, thanks to an explosive horn line, the song possesses an anthemic hook and a sweaty, seductive nature.

In Spades’ latest single “Oriole” pairs Dulli’s occult riddled lyrics with a gorgeous and moody arrangement featuring acoustic guitar, xylophone and a gorgeous and soaring string section with a power chord-based, anthemic hook and chorus, and as a result, the song manages to sound as though it subtly nods at both 60s bubblegum pop while drawing from 90s alt rock, thanks to a quiet, loud, quiet song structure.

Directed by NYC-based director and artist Amy Hood, the recently released video is a straightforward visualization of the song’s occult references as it follows Hood, who stars as a 60s horror movie-like protagonist, who leaves her life behind for a life of a somewhat sapphic cult full of dark, psychosexual fantasies and desires and a bloody sacrifice — but told within a horrifying series of acid-tinged/hallucinogenic fueled flashback.