Lael Neale returns with her beguiling new full-length Star Eaters Delight, which will be available on CD/LP/CS/DSPs April 21st, 2023 worldwide from Sub Pop. The album, which features the highlights “I Am The River,” “In Verona,” “Must Be Tears,” and “Faster Than The Medicine,” was written by Neale, with arrangements and production by Guy Blakeslee. The recordings were made on cassette in Virginia and mastered by Chris Coady in Los Angeles.
Star Eaters Delight reveals an expansion of Neale’s sonic collaboration with producer and accompanist Blakeslee and arrives on the heels of her Sub Pop debut Acquainted With Night, which won international acclaim for its crystalline vocals, clever songwriting, and excellent use of Omnichord to build a world of beautiful reveries. That album saw praise from the likes of Uncut, MOJO, Loud & Quiet, The AV Club, Stereogum, SPIN, and earned “Best of 2021” placement from Under the Radar, Les Inrocks, Aquarium Drunkard, Gold Flake Paint, Still Listening, Secret Meeting and more.
Photo credit: Alexandra Cabral
In April of 2020, Lael moved from Los Angeles back to her family’s farm in rural Virginia. Looking at the world from a distance and getting in tune with her own rhythms, she wrote and recorded steadily for two dreamlike years, driven by a need to make order out of chaos. Forged in isolation, Star Eaters Delight is a vehicle for returning, not just to civilization, but to celebration. She explains: “The unbroken silences on the farm compelled me to break them with sound. This album is louder and more external, calling out to the world.”
Album opener “I Am The River” melts the ice with a dynamic explosion of minimalist transcendental pop clearly descended from the Velvets branch of modern music’s family tree. Watch the official self-directed video for “I Am The River.”
Lael Neale is also sharing her international tour schedule for 2023 in support of Star Eaters Delight which begins April 22nd in Los Angeles at Permanent Records Roadhouse and currently runs through May 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. For the US run, the tour will have stops in Washington, Austin, Nashville, Tucson, New York, Northampton, and Philadelphia. Tickets for these shows are on sale now.
Sat. Apr. 22- Los Angeles, CA - Permanent Records Roadhouse
Mon. Apr. 24 - Phoenix, AZ - Trunk Space
Wed. Apr. 26 - Austin, TX - Chess Club
Sat. Apr. 29 - Nashville, TN - drkmttr
Wed. May 03 - Washington, DC - Comet Ping Pong
Fri. May 05 - New York, NY - Public Records
Sat. May 06 - Northampton, MA - Parlor Room
Sun. May 07 - Philadelphia, PA - Dolphin
Mon. May 15 - Manchester, UK - The Castle Hotel
Tue. May 16 - London, UK - The Lexington
Wed. May 17- Paris, FR - La Boule Noire
Thu. May 18 - Tourcoing, FR - Le Grand Mix
Fri. May 19 - Brussels, BE - Botanique (Witloof Bar)
Sat. May 20 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso (London Calling Fest)
Mon. May 22 - Berlin, DE - Kantine am Berghain
Tue. May 23 - Hamburg, DE - Aalhaus
Wed. May 24 - Copenhagen, DK - Huset
Thu. May 25 - Oslo, NO - Krosset
Fri. May 26 - Stockholm, SE - Nomad
Sat. May 27 - Gothenburg, SE - Oceanen
Star Eaters Delight is now available to preorder from Sub Pop. LP preorders from megamart.subpop.com, select independent retailers in North America, the UK and Europe, will receive the Loser edition on gold vinyl.
Album cover photo by Carly Dame
More on Lael Neale’s Star Eaters Delight:
Lael Neale still has a flip phone and there were no screens involved in the creation of her new record Star Eaters Delight.
The album is her second for Sub Pop and reveals an expansion of her sonic collaboration with producer and accompanist Guy Blakeslee.
In April of 2020, in the wake of transformations both personal and global, Lael moved from Los Angeles back to her family’s farm in rural Virginia. Looking at the world from a distance and getting in tune with her own rhythms, she wrote and recorded steadily for two dreamlike years, driven by a need to make order out of chaos. Forged in isolation, Star Eaters Delight is a vehicle for returning, not just to civilization, but to celebration.
She says, “Acquainted with Night (recorded in 2019, and released in 2021), was a focusing inward amidst the loud and bright Los Angeles surrounding me. It was an attempt to create spaciousness and quiet reverie within. When I moved back to the farm, I found that the unbroken silences compelled me to break them with sound. This album is more external. It is a reaching back out to the world, wanting to feel connected, to wake up, to come together again.”
Album opener and lead single “I Am The River” melts the ice with a dynamic explosion of minimalist transcendental pop clearly descended from the Velvets branch of modern music’s family tree.
“Lael is always telling me to play fewer notes,” says Blakeslee, whose spare yet cinematic arrangements create an ambient space in which Neale’s clear and unaffected voice can explore familiar themes in an unexpected way. Subtle but potent references to Shakespeare, Emerson and the Bible (which she hasn’t read) swirl together with deeply personal musings and touches of wry humor, always more optimistic than cynical.
“I like to use archetypal language because I want to get a rise out of people. I want to trigger a response. A single archetypal word carries more weight and punch than an ordinary word. Jesus means more to us than Joe,” she notes.
Album centerpiece “In Verona” is a sprawling gospel dirge in which the narrator-as-newscaster chants hypnotic incantations to lament a society plagued by divisions and hypocrisies, reimagining the Montagues and Capulets without mentioning them by name and cautioning the listener to “cast no stone.”
Lael continues, “The past few years have seen more mud slinging & finger pointing than I’ve witnessed in my life. When I found myself getting drawn into the fray, this phrase became a mantra helping me seek higher ground and a broader perspective.”
“Faster Than The Medicine” gallops across a misty imagined English countryside, frenetically propelled by the drum machine built into Neale’s signature Omnichord, while the bittersweet “Must Be Tears” invokes Nico with its pulsing Mellotron strings.
While this is a record about polarities- country vs. city, humanity vs. technology, solitude vs. relationship - the deeper intention is to heal; to come to terms with our differences and put the broken pieces back together again. Lael’s affinity with the Transcendentalists has to do with her quest to hold onto sovereignty over her own mind. In a time when our devices are constantly flooding us with information, opinions and propaganda, Lael is intentional about what she takes in - hence the flip phone and the cassette recorder.
She claims to be a minimalist “not because I don’t like things, but because I value freedom more.”
Star Eaters Delight
1. I Am The River
2. If I Had No Wings
3. Faster Than The Medicine
4. In Verona
5. Must Be Tears
6. No Holds Barred
7. Return To Me Now
8. Lead Me Blind