News from 3/2024

NEWS : MON, MAR 4, 2024 at 7:00 AM

Shabazz Palaces Shares New Single “Take Me To Your Leader (Feat. Lavarr The Starr)” The Closing Track From Exotic Birds Of Prey

Today, Monday, March 4th, Shabazz Palaces is sharing “Take Me To Your Leader” a Kraftwerk-esque jam featuring Ishmael Butler’s alter ego Lavarr the Starr, and is the closing track from Exotic Birds of Prey, his forthcoming seven-song mini-album.
Exotic… will be available on CD/LP/DSPs March 29th worldwide from Sub Pop, and is the follow-up to Robed in Rarenesshis well-received album from October 2023. Robed is available now on DSPs but will also be available on CD/LP formats on March 29th, 2024.
Shabazz Palaces has announced European and UK dates in support of Robed in Rareness and Exotic Birds of Prey, which begin April 27th in Paris, France at Le Petit Bain and currently end May 22nd in Braga, PT at Gnration. Preceding these dates, Shabazz Palaces will also appear at My Morning Jacket’s “One Big Holiday” at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, April 4th-7th, 2024.
Sat. Apr. 27 - Paris, FR - Le Petit Bain
Tue. Apr. 30 - Lille, FR - Aeronef
Wed. May 01 - Brussels, BE - AB Club
Thu. May 02 - Ramsgate, UK - Music Hall in
Fri. May  03 - Dublin, IE - Sugar Club
Sat. May 04 - Leeds, UK - Headrow House
Sun. May 05 - Manchester, UK - YES Pink Room
Mon. May 06 - Brighton, UK - Patterns
Tue. May 07 - London, UK - Village Underground
Thu. May 09 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Sat. May 11 - Copenhagen, DK  - Huset
Sun. May 12 - Hamburg, DE - Turmzimmer
Mon. May 13 - Berlin, DE - Frannz Club
Tue. May 14 - Prague, CZ - Meet Factory
Thu. May 16 - Geneva, CH - L’Usine
Sun. May 19 - San Sebastian, ES - Dabadaba
Mon. May 20 - Madrid, ES - Cafe Berlin
Tue. May 21 - Lisbon, PT - B. Leza
Wed. May 22 - Braga, PT - Gnration
Shabazz Palaces is masterminded by vocalist and producer Ismael Butler, whose unstinting drive to reimagine hip-hop – even as he enjoys his fifth decade on Earth – remains undimmed. 
Exotic Birds of Prey furthers the modus operandi of its predecessor, Robed in Rareness – a respectful eye on the past, an embrace of an ever-evolving present, and its feet are firmly planted in the future. Where Robed… warped sounds like shoegaze and ambient music into the Shabazz Palaces multiverse, Exotic… cross-pollinates these elements with twisted electro and funk vibes.
This new endeavor features collaborations with the likes of Stas THEE Boss, Irene Barber, the aforementioned Lavarr the Starr, Japreme Magnetic, OC Notes, Cobra Coil, and Purple Tape Nate.
Exotic Birds of Prey was produced by Shabazz Palaces, mixed by Erik Blood, and engineered by Ishmael Butler and Blood at Studio4 West in Venice, California, with mastering by Warren Defever at Third Man Mastering.
Exotic Birds of Prey and Robed in Rareness are now available to preorder from Sub Pop. LP preorders for each release in North America from and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser Editions for Exotic Birds of Prey on Translucent White vinyl and Robed in Rareness on Translucent Ruby vinyl.
In the UK and Europe, LP orders from Mega Mart 2 (the new, UK-based sibling site to the world-famous Sub Pop Mega Mart) and independent retail stores will receive the Loser Editions for Exotic Birds of Prey on Cream White vinyl and Robed in Rareness on Red vinyl.
NPR Music called Robed in Rareness “Enchanting and subversive…” while Pitchfork offered this, “The futurism of Shabazz Palaces has always been interwoven with the past and present, their songs scintillating tapestries of old-school shit talk, proggy psychedelia, and melodic flossing. Robed in Rareness is draped in this multiplicity as Butler and a team of close collaborators swagger across eras of rap.”

Shabazz Palaces
Exotic Birds Of Prey
1. Exotic BOP (feat. Purple Tape Nate)
2. Angela (feat. Stas THEE Boss & Irene Barber)
3. Myths Of The Occult (feat. Japreme Magnetic)
4. Goat Me (feat. Cobra Coil)
5. Well Known Nobody (feat. OCnotes)
6. Synth Dirt
7. Take Me To Your Leader (feat. Lavarr the Starr)

Posted by Abbie Gobeli

NEWS : THU, MAR 7, 2024 at 6:00 AM

Amen Dunes Unveils New Single/Video “Boys”

Last month, Amen Dunes – the project of New York City-based Damon McMahon – announced his long-awaited new album, Death Jokes, will be released May 10th via Sub Pop. Today, McMahon unveils a new single, “Boys,” accompanied by a video directed by Steven Brahms and single art by the late photographer Ross McDonnell, which also appears on the album’s back cover. “Boys” follows the “delicately lilting stunner” (PAPER) “Purple Land,” which, as Stereogum praised, “feels like alternate-dimension folk-rock…as if built from extraterrestrial material.”

Death Jokes marks Amen Dunes’ first record since 2018’s Freedom, named a “best album of the decade” by Pitchfork. Instead of embarking on the eerie, modern blend of folk and blues for which he’s known, McMahon decided to become a beginner again, immersing himself in the fundamentals of both piano and the electronic music he’d grown up with at raves and clubs but never imagined himself able to make. For the first time since the project’s incarnation in 2006, the spiritual reflections and meditations of Amen Dunes are turned away from himself and out sharply towards the world. Through samples and lyrics, the album plays like a scathing electronic essay on America’s culture of violence, dominance, and destructive individualism. 

“Boys” was first written by McMahon in 2015 while on tour in Sicily, originally beginning as a pop-punk song before morphing into improvised electronic music: frenetic drum machines and samples of sirens, field recordings, and raves layered on top of McMahon’s double-tracked voice and guitar. McMahon explains: “‘Boys’ is another interstitial character portrait, this time about outcasts, ‘bad kids,’ and seeing things from their side: ‘Everything you’ve done, it’s been done to you too.’”

The “Boys” video, directed by Steven Brahms, focuses on innate destructive tendencies that McMahon explores throughout Death Jokes. “We only had one shot to destroy the room,” says Brahms. “The guys in the video gave us such an authentic look and flow. Everyone on the crew was buzzing after the shoot and we knew we had something special. Destruction can be very cathartic.”

Of the song’s single art by Ross McDonnell, McMahon elaborates: “I fell in love with Ross’ photos of boys in Ireland while making Death Jokes and he was generous enough to let me use this picture. The image felt tragic and humorous at the same time, much like these songs. Ross was a bold, adventurous, and wild artist: the kind I aspire to be. Just as this album was close to being finished, Ross tragically passed away swimming in the Atlantic. He was 43. Rest in Peace.”

Watch the Video for Amen Dunes’ “Boys”

While creating Death Jokes, McMahon struggled to find others who understood his unorthodox methods, this “loose, wild, self-propelled approach” that signaled a new direction for Amen Dunes. After two years and twenty-one failed collaborations, he made meaningful connections with a handful of talented artists and was able to create the profound collaborations he had been searching for. The jazz bassist Sam Wilkes appears on a trio of songs, producers Christoffer Berg (Fever Ray) and Kwake Bass (Tirzah, Dean Blunt) provided tracks on several others; sessions with Panoram and Money Mark also ended up in the final version of Death Jokes. 

On most songs, McMahon incorporated sounds, talking, and music pilfered from YouTube. The vast collage of samples include an interview with J Dilla, recordings from Type O Negative and Coil, a lyre performance of the oldest written song in human history, protest chants, a grunting powerlifter, and bits of stand-up from Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and others, as “thought provocation and irritant.”

The songs on Death Jokes almost seem to foresee the pandemic, but they’re more about the lingering effects those years have had on all of us, spiritually and emotionally. Their meaning transformed as the pandemic went on: at first they were reflections on our attachment to form, and to ourselves, and then they shifted into solemn indictments of our culture’s blind spots as we misjudge and attack, our veiled self-centeredness and self-importance masquerading as morality. 

Amen Dunes will be playing concerts and festivals in select cities throughout the US, UK and Europe. A full list of dates is below and tickets are on sale now.

Pre-order Death Jokes

Listen to “Purple Land”

Amen Dunes Tour Dates

Wed. May 8 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore

Fri. May 10 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Bellwether

Wed. May 15 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

Mon. Jul. 1 - Paris, FR @ Trabendo

Wed. Jul. 3 - Berlin, DE @ Gretchen

Fri. Jul. 5 - Roskilde, DK @ Roskilde Festival

Sun. Jul. 7 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso

Tue. Jul. 9 - London, UK @ KOKO

Posted by Abbie Gobeli

NEWS : MON, MAR 4, 2024 at 9:00 AM

The Remastered and Expanded Edition of Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary, The Band’s Classic Debut Will Be Back In Print On Pearlescent Vinyl, April 26th, 2024

Sunny Day Real Estate and Sub Pop are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the band’s landmark album Diary with a new pearlescent vinyl edition of the remastered double LP and its release coincides with the band’s 2024 US tour commemorating the anniversary of the album.
This new version of Diary is now available to preorder from, and select North American retailers (while supplies last).
Originally formed in Seattle in 1992, Sunny Day Real Estate featured Nate Mendel (bass), William Goldsmith (drums), Dan Hoerner (guitar, vocals) and Jeremy Enigk (vocals, guitar). Diary, the band’s first full-length album, was released in 1994 on Sub Pop, going on to become the seventh-best-selling record in the label’s history, with more than 231,000 copies scanned in the US alone. Diary was recorded at Chicago’s Idful Studios with producer Brad Wood and released to critical acclaim.
Pitchfork, in its “50 Best Indie Rock Albums of Pacific Northwest,” said of Diary, “The title would later be ridiculed as a symbol of emo’s inward focus, but Sunny Day Real Estate’s Diary, their 1994 debut on Sub Pop, can be read in various ways: in the form of punk rock evolving away from its original designs into more dynamic and insecure space, or as a display of spiraling interplay between four talented musicians from Seattle.”
The Diary 30th Anniversary Tour begins Wednesday, March 13th in Lawrence, KS at Liberty Hall and currently ends with a two-night stand Friday, October 18th and Saturday, October 19th in Los Angeles at The Belasco. Please find a current list of dates below. For more information on tickets, please visit

Wed. Mar. 13 - Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall
Thu. Mar. 14 - Oklahoma, OK - Tower Theatre
Sat. Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - Stubb’s Austin (SPIN)
Wed. May 01 -  Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre
Fri. May 03 - Gainesville, FL - High Dive [Sold Out]
Sat. May 04 - Atlanta, GA - Shaky Knees Music Festival
Tue. May 07 - Washington, D.C. - The Howard Theatre
Thu. May 09 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts [Sold Out]
Fri. May 10 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living Arts
Sun. May 12 - Boston, MA - Big Night Live
Wed. May 15 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza [Sold Out]
Thu. May 16 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza
Wed. Aug. 14 - Dallas, TX - The Echo Lounge & Music Hall
Sat. Aug. 17 - Denver, CO - Summit
Tue. Aug. 20 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox [Sold Out]
Wed. Aug. 21 - Portland, OR - Pioneer Courthouse Square (PDX Live)
Fri. Aug. 23 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox [Sold Out]
Sat. Aug. 24 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox
Sun. Sep. 22 - Louisville, KY - Bourbon and Beyond Festival
Wed. Sep. 25 - Chicago, IL - House of Blues
Sat. Sep. 28 - Minneapolis, MN - The Fillmore
Oct. 11-13 - Las Vegas, NV - Best Friends Forever Festival
Tue. Oct. 15 - San Francisco, CA - August Hall
Fri. Oct. 18 - Los Angeles, CA - The Belasco [Sold Out]
Sat. Oct. 19 - Los Angeles, CA - The Belasco

Sunny Day Real Estate
Diary: Remastered and Expanded Edition
1. Seven
2. In Circles
3. Song About an Angel
4. Round
5. 47
6. The Blankets Were the Stairs
7. Pheurton Skeurto
8. Shadows
9. 48
10. Grendel
11. Sometimes
12. 8 (bonus track)
13. 9 (bonus track)

Posted by Abbie Gobeli

NEWS : TUE, MAR 5, 2024 at 6:00 AM

Corridor Share New Visual For “Mon Argent”

A Lite Brite, falling pennies, and trinkets adorn the hypnotic looping visual for Corridor’s “Mon Argent,” a new single from Mimi, the Montreal band’s forthcoming new album. 
Mimi is an eight-track offering, which includes the aforementioned “Mon Argent,” along with “Mourir Demain,” “Jump Cut” and “Camera,” and was produced by Corridor and Joojoo Ashworth (Dummy, Automatic) at Studio Gamma in Montreal and mastered by Heba Kadry Mastering in Brooklyn. All songs on Mimi were composed by Corridor, with lyrics written by guitarist and vocalist Jonathan Robert.
Corridor’s Mimi—which, fun fact, is also named after Jonathan’s cat—is a record about “getting older” and “figuring out new parts of life”—but despite any claims of transitional growing pains from the band, Mimi is also a record bursting with new energy and life. The band expands on the sounds of Junior and delivers an album with a distinct rhythmic pulse reminiscent of post-punk’s own classic era of melding dance and rock textures.
Corridor’s international tour plans for 2024 to support Mimi begin Saturday, March 9th at Pitchfork Music Festival Mexico City and currently ends October 4th with a hometown show in Montreal at Le National. New highlights include a short UK/EU run (May 11th-18th) and a tour of France (November 6th-16th). The band will also appear at SXSW (March 13th-15th)—additional live dates to be announced soon.

Sat. Mar. 09 - Mexico City, MX - Pitchfork Music Festival Mexico City *
Tue. Mar. 12 -   Los Angeles, CA - Ghengis Cohen
Wed. Mar. 13 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Thu. Mar. 14 - Austin, TX - SXSW
Fri. Mar. 15 - Austin, TX -  SXSW
Sat. May 11 - Esch-sur-Alzette, LU - Centre Culturel Kulturfabrik (Out Of The Crowd Festival)
Mon. May 13 - Brussels, BE - Botanique
Wed. May 15 - Leeds, UK - Hyde Park Book Club
Thu. May 16 - London, UK - Shacklewell Arms (Free Show)
Sat. May 18 - Brighton, UK - The Great Escape Festival (Patterns)
Thu. May 30 - McGill, NV - Schellraiser Festival
Wed. Nov. 06 - Paris, FR - La Maroquinerie
Thu. Nov. 07 - Lorient, FR Festival Indisciplines @ Hydrophone
Fri. Nov. 08 - Amiens, FR La Lune des Pirates
Sat. Nov. 09 - Lille, FR - L’Aeronef
Sun. Nov. 10 - Laval, FR - 6PAR4 (Matinee Show at 5.30pm)
Tue. Nov. 12 - Limoges, FR - Jean-Gagnant
Wed. Nov. 13 - La Roche Sur-Yon, FR - Quai M
Thu. Nov. 14 - Bordeaux, FR - Rock School Barbey
Fri. Nov. 15 - Rouen, FR - Le 106
Sat. Nov. 16 - Caen, FR - Le Cargö
Fri. Oct. 04 - Montreal, QC  Le National

Mimi is now available to preorder from Sub Pop. LP preorders of the album from and select independent retailers in North America will receive the Loser Edition on Baby Pink vinyl. LP orders from Mega Mart 2 (the new, UK-based sibling site to the world-famous Sub Pop Mega Mart) and select independent retailers the UK and Europe, will receive the Loser Edition on Blue vinyl. All whilst stock lasts.
What people are saying about Corridor:
“Lead single ‘Mourir Demain’ exemplifies this – the jagged edges nod to post-punk, but there’s a sense of 60s baroque pop, too. The lilting French language vocal is intoxicating, while the slightly martial feel to the drumming underneath gives it an added intensity.” CLASH
“Grandly psychedelic” (“Mourir Demain”) STEREOGUM
“I’d rather listen to this all day than the 300th band that wants to be the next Idles.” AUSTIN TOWN HALL
“The first single from Mimi is “Mourir Demain,” which with its prominent acoustic guitars sounds unlike anything Corridor have ever released before.” - BROOKLYN VEGAN



1. Phase IV
2. Mon Argent
3. Jump Cut
4. Caméra
5. Chenil
6. Porte Ouverte
7. Mourir Demain
8. Pellicule

Posted by Abbie Gobeli

NEWS : WED, MAR 6, 2024 at 6:00 AM

Hear “All In Good Time,” The Glorious New Duet From Iron & Wine Featuring Fiona Apple

Today, March 6th, 2024, Iron & Wine shares “All In Good Time,” a glorious new song in which Fiona Apple lends her voice and written by Sam Beam in the vein of classic call-and-response style duets made famous by Dolly and Kenny and George and Tammy.
Sam Beam says of Fiona’s contribution to the song, “Her voice is a miracle that sounds like both a sacrifice and a weapon at the same time.” The glorious single is a standout from Iron & Wine’s forthcoming album, Light Verse.
Light Verse is a ten-track collection produced by Beam and mixed and engineered by Dave Way at Waystation and Silent Zoo Studios in Los Angeles. Light Verse is the first full-length Iron & Wine release in over seven years and follows his two Grammy-nominated releases, 2017’s Beast Epic and 2018’s Weed Garden EP.
Iron & Wine is extending his 2024 headlining tour plans to support Light Verse to include a UK and EU run this fall, which begins October 22nd in Belfast, Ireland at Mandela Hall and ends November 15th in Antwerp, Belgium at De Roma.
Tickets go on sale on Friday March 8th at 10 am (local). For regular updates on tickets please visit
His previously announced North American dates begin Friday, June 14th in Milwaukee, WI at The Pabst Theatre and currently run through Saturday, August 24th in Nashville, TN at The Ryman. Please find a complete list of tour dates below.

North America Summer 2024
Fri. Jun. 14 - Milwaukee, WI - The Pabst Theater
Sat. Jun. 15 -  St Paul, MN - Palace Theatre
Mon. Jun. 17 - Denver, CO - Mission Ballroom
Tue. Jun. 18 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Union
Thu. Jun. 20 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
Fri. Jun. 21 - Portland, OR - McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
Sat. Jun. 22  - Portland, OR - McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
Sun. Jun. 23 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
Tue. Jun. 25 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
Thur. Jun. 27 - Monterey, CA - Golden State Theatre
Fri. Jun. 28 - Los Angeles, CA - The Bellweather
Sat. Jun. 29 - Los Angeles, CA - The Bellweather
Sun. Jun. 30 - El Cajon, CA - The Magnolia
Tue. Jul. 02 - Phoenix, AZ - The Van Buren
Wed. Jul. 03 - Taos, NM - Kit Carson Park * (support for Avett Brothers)
Fri. Jul. 05 - Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom
Sat. Jul. 06  - St Louis, MO -  The Pageant
Mon. Jul. 08 - Chicago, IL - The Salt Shed
Wed. Jul. 31 - New Orleans, LA - Orpheum Theater
Thu. Aug. 01 - Houston, TX-  White Oak Music Hall
Fri. Aug. 02 - Austin, TX - ACL Live at the Moody Theater
Sat. Aug. 03 - Dallas, TX - Majestic Theatre
Mon. Aug. 05 - Atlanta, GA - The Eastern
Tue. Aug. 06 - Wilmington, NC - Wilson Center at CFCC
Wed. Aug. 07 - Raleigh, NC - Meymandi Concert Hall
Fri. Aug. 09 - Washington, DC - The Anthem
Sat. Aug. 10 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore Philadelphia
Sun. Aug. 11 - Boston, MA - Roadrunner
Tue. Aug. 13 - New Haven, CT - College Street Music Hall
Wed. Aug. 14 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Paramount
Fri. Aug. 16 - Montreal, QC - MTELUS
Sat. Aug. 17 - Toronto, ON - The Danforth Music Hall
Sun. Aug. 18 - Detroit, MI - Masonic Cathedral Theatre
Tue. Aug. 20 - Cleveland, OH - Agora Theatre
Thu. Aug. 22 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Fri. Aug. 23 - Louisville, KY - Old Forester’s Paristown Hall
Sat. Aug. 24 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
UK/EU Fall 2024
Tue. Oct. 22 - Belfast, UK - Mandela Hall
Wed. Oct. 23 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street
Fri. Oct. 25 - Edinburgh, UK - Queens Hall
Sat. Oct. 26 - Manchester, UK - New Century Hall
Sun. Oct. 27 - Bristol, UK  - SWX
Tue. Oct. 29 - Birmingham, UK - Birmingham Town Hall
Wed. Oct. 30 - London, UK - London Palladium
Thu. Oct. 31 - Cambridge, UK - Junction
Mon. Nov. 04 - Copenhagen, DK - DR Koncerthuset
Tue. Nov. 05 - Stockholm, SE - Göta Lejon
Wed. Nov. 06 - Oslo, NO - Rockefeller
Thu. Nov. 07 - Gothenburg, SE - Pustervik
Sat. Nov. 09 - Hamburg, DE - Fabrik
Mon. Nov. 11 Berlin, DE - Huxleys
Tue. Nov. 12 - Cologne, DE - Bürgerhaus stollwerck
Thu. Nov 14 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
Fri. Nov. 15 - Antwerp, BE - De Roma

With Light Verse, Beam’s lyrics once again draw on a series of fictional and personal insights, filled with desperate characters and wide-eyed optimists, offering promise and a dose of heartache, tears and laughter, life and love. It’s also Iron & Wine’s most playful record, with its title reflecting how the songs were born with joy after the heaviness and anxiety of the pandemic. Where Beast Epic and Weed Garden gave air to the disquiet of middle-aged frailty and brokenness, Light Verse’s songs trade that for the focus acceptance can bring. Moment by moment, they delight in being pointed or silly (or both) and attempt beauty over prettiness.
Fashioned as an album that should be taken as a whole, Light Verse sounds lovingly handmade and self-assured as a secret handshake. Track by track, its equal parts elegy, kaleidoscope, truth and dare.
Light Verse is available to preorder on CD/LP/digitally worldwide from Sub Pop. LP preorders from Iron & Wine’s official, and select independent stores in North America will receive the Loser edition on Clear with Blue Polka Dot vinyl. In the UK and Europe, LP preorders through Sub Pop’s new, Mega Mart 2, and UK/EU Independent retailers will receive the Loser edition on Yellow Transparent vinyl (All whilst stock lasts!).
Iron & Wine’s Who Can See Forever soundtrack is also available from Sub Pop. The documentary concert film is being released theatrically throughout North America by Abramorama after a string of sold-out screenings in select markets like New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Denver. Who Can See Forever will continue its theatrical run throughout 2024 before platforming to streaming services later in the year (see full a current list of dates here).

Iron & Wine
Light Verse
1. You Never Know
2. Anyone’s Game
3. All in Good Time (Feat. Fiona Apple)
4. Cutting It Close
5. Taken by Surprise
6. Yellow Jacket
7. Sweet Talk
8. Tears that Don’t Matter
9. Bag of Cats
10. Angels Go Home

Posted by Abbie Gobeli

NEWS : TUE, MAR 5, 2024 at 7:00 AM

La Luz Announce New Album, News of the Universe out May 24th via Sub Pop

La Luz - the band led by Shana Cleveland – has announced the May 24 release of their new album, News of the Universe.  The LP marks their first for Sub Pop. With a credo adapted from science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, an album title from a collection of metaphysical poetry, and an expansion in consciousness brought on by personal crisis, the album finds guitarist and songwriter Cleveland embracing a changing world with unconditional love.  News of the Universe is also a record born of calamity, a work of dark, beautiful psychedelia reflecting Cleveland’s experience of having her world blown apart by a breast cancer diagnosis just two years after the birth of her son. 

Today, La Luz shares “Strange World,” the first single off of News of the Universe. “It’s been a strange and difficult few years, and at moments, I have found myself rushing to move forward in time, to leave the present and escape to whatever is next,” says Cleveland.  “The best advice a friend gave me during a time when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and battling consecutive panic attacks was to go outside, take my shoes off, and sit with my feet on the earth. This seemed to slow the universe down in a way that made it feel easier to handle. So this chorus is something of a mantra to myself ‘we’ll be fine, just take your time.’”  The video was shot by Vanessa Pla and features Cleveland on a bike delivering the La Luz Observer newspaper whose headline reads “News of the Universe.”  Listen/share “Strange World” here and watch the video below.

La Luz will be touring North America, Europe, and the UK in support of News of the Universe, and the first run of dates will kick off May 23 in Barcelona.  The band’s first show stateside is on May 30 at The Crocodile in Seattle, WA for a Record Release Show  They return for the full run on September 26 for a show in Chicago, IL, stopping at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere on October 9 before concluding with a 2-night run at Lodge Room in Los Angeles, CA, on November 8 and 9.  All shows are listed below.  

News of the Universe marks the first appearance for drummer Audrey Johnson and the final ones from longtime La Luz members bassist Lena Simon and keyboardist Alice Sandahl, whose contributions add a bittersweet edge to a record that is both elegy for an old world and cosmic road map to a strange new one.

Formed by Cleveland in 2012, La Luz is beloved for their ability to balance bedlam and bliss, each new record another fine-tuning of the band’s mix of swaggering riffs with angelic vocals borrowed from doo-wop and folk; a band so reliably great that it makes the huge step forward in confidence and sheer musicality that is News of the Universe all the more formidable. Cleveland, also a writer and painter, has developed into a truly original songwriter with her own canon of haunted psychedelia that, in recent years, has drawn upon the changing landscape around her rural California home for inspiration, notably on last year’s critically acclaimed solo release, Manzanita, a magical realist documentation of her pregnancy and early motherhood that appeared on many year-end lists.

Yet if Cleveland has spent years writing songs about ghosts, what lurks in the shadows of News of the Universe is nothing less than death itself. “There are moments on this album that sound to me like the last frantic confession before an asteroid destroys the earth,” says Cleveland. 

Sonically, the record is all urgency. Songs trip over themselves as if trying to outrun the apocalypse: the breathless pitter-pattering of toms on “Strange World,” the title track’s finger-tangling opening riff drenched in murky distortion. An atmosphere of doom hovers hazily over the Sgt. Pepper-esque baroque pop song “Poppies,” on which Cleveland sings of a wavering orange idyll about to be set ablaze by the late summer sun. On the similarly kaleidoscopic “Dandelions,” she figures the yellow flowers for unsuspecting “little suns” soon to be “turning into moons” as the season marches on. The synthesized sounds used on the band’s last record, 2021’s La Luz, to mimic the languid buzz and crackle of a summer’s day in the countryside have been cut adrift in space—now they are silvery comet tails, dapplings of space dust, showers of stars.

These earthy observations are inspired by Cleveland’s walks around her home in the shell-shocked days post-diagnosis when she found she had to be very intentional about what she consumed. “Seeing the cycle of life, seeing things grow out of decay, the decay of other living things—was super comforting to me. I had to get to a place where I felt more comfortable with the idea of death,” she says.

But for every moment of fear, there is one of pure ecstasy. Shimmery chamber pop song “Blue Moth Cloud Shadow” puddles into a twinkly organ-driven reverie; “I’ll Go With You” starts out with the record’s sludgiest riff before turning into its prettiest song. “Always in Love” is a real power-of-love ballad that serves as the record’s centerpiece and is capped off by a fiery and jubilant guitar solo, Cleveland’s own “November Rain” moment.

The powerful sense of openness that permeates News of the Universe is at least partially due to the fact that it is a record made entirely by women—from the performing, writing, and producing all the way through to the recording, engineering, and mastering. “There is something inherently and simultaneously sweet and brutal about womanhood,” says Cleveland. “That is something I hear on this record.”

Working with producer Maryam Qudos (Spacemoth), the all-female environment allowed Cleveland to feel safe tapping into difficult places and expressing hard emotions women are socialized to suppress. “Having that kind of connection and that comfort straightaway let us push it further,” she says. “We didn’t spend the first half of the session being careful not to offend someone’s ego.”

Qudos also helped shape the songs, bringing ideas to the table “that to me felt like choices that I would not normally make, but I was really stoked about,” says Cleveland, pointing out that the dubbed-out effects on “Moon in Reverse” were all Qudos. “Sometimes she would have ideas about the structure of the songs, which a producer often doesn’t really mess with. But as a songwriter herself, I think she felt really comfortable with us.” Their working relationship was so organic that Qudos has since joined La Luz full-time on keyboards to replace the departing Sandahl.

Unashamedly vulnerable, unabashedly feminine, and undeniably triumphant, News of the Universe is another knockout record from a band so reliably great that it has perhaps led people to overlook how pioneering La Luz really are: women of color in indie music forging their own path by following their own artistic star into galaxies beyond current musical trends, always led by an earnest belief in the cosmic power of love and a great riff. Never is that more true than on News of the Universe, which might be La Luz’s most brutal record to date but also their most blissful. After everything, how could it not?

La Luz Tour Dates

05/23 Barcelona, ES @ Sala Upload

05/24 Madrid, ES @ Tomavistas Festival

05/25 London, UK @ Wide Awake Festival

05/30 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile (Record Release Show)

07/27 Portland, OR @ Project Pabst

08/30 Brighton, UK @ Brighton Psych Fest

08/31 Manchester, UK @ Manchester Psych Fest

09/01 Edinburgh, UK @ Edinburgh Psych Fest

09/03 Bristol, UK @ Strange Brew

09/05 Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere

09/06 Sart-Messire-Guillaume, BE @ SMG Music Fest

09/07 Asten-Heusden, NL @ Misty Fields Festival

09/08 Amsterdam, NL @ Indiestadt x Suger Mountain @ Paradiso

09/10 Cologne, DE @ Bumann & SOHN

09/11 Hamburg, DE @ Prinzenbar

09/12 Berlin, DE @ Badehaus

09/13 Schorndorf, DE @ Manufaktur

09/14 Zürich, DE @ Bogen

09/26 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean

09/27 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon

09/28 St. Paul, MM @ Turf Club

09/30 St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill

10/01 Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar

10/02 Nashville, TN @ The End

10/03 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade - Purgatory

10/04 Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall

10/05 Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall

10/06 Washington, DC @ The Atlantis

10/08 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s

10/09 Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere - Hall

10/10 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall

10/11 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz

10/12 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern

10/13 Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch 

10/28 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater

10/30 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge

10/31 Boise, ID @ The Olympic

11/03 Vancouver, BC @ The Pearl

11/06 Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s

11/07 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

11/08 Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room

11/09 Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room

News of the Universe is available to preorder now on CD/LP/DSPs from Sub Pop. LP preorders in North America from and select independent retailers and in Europe and the UK from independent retail stores, and Mega Mart 2 (the new, UK-based sibling site to the world-famous Sub Pop Mega Mart) will receive the “Luzer” Edition on Translucent Orange Crush. All colored vinyl versions are available while stock lasts.

La Luz 

News of The Universe

1. Reaching Up to the Sun

2. Strange World

3. Dandelions

4. Poppies

5. Good Luck With Your Secret

6. Always in Love

7. Close Your Eyes

8. I’ll Go With You

9. Blue Moth Cloud Shadow

10. News of the Universe

11. Moon in Reverse

12. Blue Jay

Posted by Abbie Gobeli