International tour schedule for 2018 includes U.S. (September 4th-30th) & new European dates supporting Hot Snakes (October 11th-19th)
Lithium Zion, the latest offering from Australian band Deaf Wish is available today, July 27th via Sub Pop Records. Spread through this 11 track album is a veritable buffet of garage-punk energy, post-punk pathos, sardonic wit and the fearlessness that will thrust you to a higher level. In the words of the bands guitarist/vocalist Jensen Tjhung, who co-directed the video with his bandmate, Daniel Twomey, the new video for “Metal Carnage” features the bands Vocalist/Bassist Lee Parker “burning down Bell St with the Roof Rat up top, riding the lights 200kph down Sydney Rd d-d-do I stutter?!”
Deaf Wish have announced European shows in October, opening for labelmates Hot Snakes from October 11th-19th. These shows will have the band playing, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and London. Deaf Wish’s North American run will begin on September 4th in Columbus at Spacebar and end September 27th-30th in Memphis for Gonerfest. The tour will include stops in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco, Atlanta, Austin, New Orleans and an appearance at Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival (September 6th). Along the way, Deaf Wish will be joined labelmates The Gotobeds (September 7th; 9th-14th).
Sep. 04 - Columbus, OH - Spacebar Sep. 05 - Asheville, NC - Mothlight Sep. 06 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Sep. 07 - Baltimore, MD - Joe Squared * Sep. 08 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Pool Sep. 09 - Boston, MA - Great Scott * Sep. 11 - Pittsburgh, PA - The New Shop * Sep. 12 - Cleveland, OH - Now That’s Class * Sep. 13 - Detroit, MI - Deluxx Fluxx * Sep. 14 - Chicago, IL - GMan Tavern * Sep. 18 - Seattle, WA - Highline Sep. 19 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios Sep. 20 - Arcata, CA - Outer Space Sep. 21- San Francisco, CA - The Knockout Sep. 22- Los Angeles, CA - Zebulon Sep. 23- Tucson, AZ - Club Congress Sep. 25- Austin, TX - Barracuda Sep. 26- New Orleans, LA - Poor Boys Sep. 27- Atlanta, GA - The Earl Sep. 27-30 - Memphis, TN - Gonerfest Oct. 11- Berlin, DE - Lido $ Oct. 12- Hamburg, DE - Molotov $ Oct. 13- Lund, SE - Mejeriet $ Oct. 14- Goteborg,SE - Pustervik $ Oct. 15- Stockholm, SE - Debaser $ Oct. 16- Copenhagen, DK - Hotel Cecil $ Oct. 18- Kortrijk, BE - De Kreun $ Oct. 19- London, UK - Oslo $ * w/ The Gotobeds $ w/ Hot Snakes
The music on Lithium Zion was collaboratively written by Deaf Wish, with each member taking turns on lyrical and vocal duties throughout the album. Lithium Zion was recorded at Head Gap Recording Studio in Melbourne in April of 2017 with Nao Anzai, and mixed and mastered by Mikey Young of Total Control (who also mixed the group’s “St. Vincent’s” 7” single and Pain album, both released on Sub Pop).
Lithium Zion is available on CD/LP/DL/CS worldwide today July 27th, except for the UK on Friday, August 3rd, through Sub Pop [order here]. LP preorders of the album through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on hot pink vinyl (while supplies last).
What The People are saying about Deaf Wish’s Lithium Zion + singles:
“The quartet does love those cascading or ascending, hard-strummed octaves and unisons, not to mention singer/guitarist Jensen Tjhung’s vocals, which bear more than a passing comparison to Thurston Moore’s. Also much like Sonic Youth, every member writes and sings, and it all amalgamates perfectly. Guitarist/singer Sarah Hardiman’s rollicking “FFS,” perhaps about the strain of relationships whilst rockin’ (“I see my name up in lights / I see my name but the words are not nice… I feel like a fool / Out playing pool, hitting on you”) crashes into bassist Lee Parker’s “Metal Carnage.” Deaf Wish also know their way around a closer—“Smoke,” by drummer Daniel Twomey, sung by Twomey and Hardiman, is one of the year’s hookier indie-noise thunder-rolls. Deaf Wish remain kings of the daydream nation.” [Album of the Day] - Bandcamp
“FFS” feels like a flame war, a tense pyre to keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.” -Stereogum
“Straightforward and immensely satisfying three-chord garage punk…” - The Guardian
“It’s a boom time for Aussie aggro bands and here’s another corker. Thrill to the high repetition guitars and tough lyrics.” - MOJO
Plus, Sub Pop’s “SPF30 Singles Spectacular”: 4 limited-edition commemorative split 7” singles featuring new songs from Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces, Hot Snakes, Frankie Cosmos, METZ, LVL UP
We are delighted to share more details for SPF30 and Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary weekend (<- click to see the very, very official website of SPF30), happening Friday, August 10th and Saturday, August 11th, 2018 in beautiful Seattle, Washington.
Father John Misty, Hot Snakes, and Bully have just been added to the lineup for SPF30 on Saturday, August 11th. The newly announced groups will join Beach House, Clipping, Kyle Craft, Fastbacks, Jo Passed, Loma, LVL UP, METZ, Moaning, Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces, Wolf Parade, Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its!, and The School of Rock West Seattle House Band over four stages along incredibly scenic Alki Ave. in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle.
Stage names and set times are as follows:
LOSER STAGE (@ Bathhouse West) 1:30 - Moaning 3:15 - Bully 5:15 - Fastbacks 7:00 - Wolf Parade 9:00 - Father John Misty
THE FLIPPITY-FLOP STAGE (@ Bathhouse East) 12:45 - LVL UP 2:30 - Loma 4:15 - Clipping 6:00 - Shabazz Palaces 8:00 - Beach House
PUNKY STAGE (@ Whale Tail Park) 1:00 - Caspar Babypants 2:00 - The Not-Its! 4:00 - The School of Rock West Seattle House Band
SPF30 Singles Spectacular
Also on August 11th at SPF30, Sub Pop will offer the “SPF30 Singles Spectacular”: 4 limited-edition commemorative split 7” singles featuring as-yet-unreleased tracks from 8 artists on the label. Each of these singles will be on colored vinyl, in an edition of 1,000, with covers featuring SPF30 artwork by Rick Froberg (of Hot Snakes). This collection of 7”s will be available individually and as a set. (limit: 2 per-person) And those savvy enough to buy all four will be delighted to find that the interiors of the covers combine to make one complete SPF30 poster-like image.
SPF30 Singles Spectacular tracklist: 1. Mudhoney “One Bad Actor” b/w Hot Snakes “They Put You Up to This” 2. Shabazz Palaces “The Blue Tiger” b/w Chad VanGaalen “Friendly Aliens” 3. Frankie Cosmos “Home Is Where” b/w LVL UP “Orchard” 4. METZ “Escalator Teeth/On and On” b/w Clipping “Club Down”
More about SPF30:
SPF30 is a free, all-ages event and will also have…A record fair-type thing! A PaperStock poster exhibit and sale! Food trucks! Beer gardens! A true bonanza of new Sub Pop and SPF30 merch! (The t-shirts, records, posters, food and beer and wine and soda or whatever, you will have to pay for! These parts are not free!) Good times and opportunities to embarrass yourself and those who’d always hoped for better for you!
Also joining us at SPF30 will be a stellar group of nonprofit organizations doing incredible work, and offering tools that we believe can help us as individuals lead healthier, safer and more informed lives. Organizations at SPF30 include Motley Zoo, Puget Soundkeeper, Seattle Derby Brats, Skate Like A Girl, Totem Star, Vera Project, Village of Hope / Black Prisoners Caucus, Washington Bus, Washington Ceasefire, West Seattle Helpline, and YouthCare. There will also be anti-sexual assault and safe consumption organizations on site, and free advice with therapists Galeet & Geri. These community organizations enact positive, systemic change in the world, and we at Sub Pop couldn’t be more proud to have them all present at SPF30.
Seattle’s Alki Beach boasts some of the most awesome territorial (city/water/mountain) views the city has to offer, along with the occasional whale sighting, a somewhat diminutive replica of the Statue of Liberty, and some of the best local businesses to boot. We are honored to be welcomed by the Alki Beach neighborhood. And while we want everyone to have fun, we also want everyone to be respectful of those who live there. We’d also like to thank our SPF30 beneficiary Southwest Seattle Historical Society for their support in planning this event.
And closing out our festivities is a late show celebrating the unbelievably “coincidental” 15th anniversary of Pissed Jeans at the Crocodile in Seattle. This show is 21 +, and doors are at 8pm. Tickets are still available for $16 here.
SPF30 and the Pissed Jeans 15th Anniversary Show on Sat., Aug. 11th, are preceded by two events on the evening of Friday, August 10th. The Afghan Whigs, Mass Gothic and Yuno are playing a free, all-ages outdoor concert at the Mural Amphitheatre, presented by KEXP and Seattle Center (starting at 5 pm). Later that same evening, we are presenting A Night of Comedy From the Cast of Bob’s Burgers at The Moore Theatre: A Benefit For Youth Care, featuring H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy and John Roberts. This event is happening at The Moore Theatre and is sold out (7 pm).
It is our hope that SPF30 and Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Weekend will serve as a super fun and sincere “thank you” to our local and global music community for supporting Sub Pop and our artists for the past 30 years (and the next 30!).
In addition to celebrating a dynamic, inspirational roster spanning three decades, we also wish to create a sense of uplifting togetherness where we not only listen to great music but we become better at listening to each other as well.
Schedule of Things Happening
JULY 26 / AUGUST 2ND / AUGUST 9TH SUB POP TURNTABLE SESSIONS KEXP Gathering Space • FREE • 6-8pm • ALL-AGES The Sub Pop Turntable Sessions are three distinct panel discussions highlighting multiple facets of Sub Pop’s history in celebration of the label’s 30th anniversary. Each session will review snippets of past label happenings and works while discussing how they relate to the label and our society’s future. The first session will be on July 26th, featuring Sub Pop LOSER Scholarship winners. The next will be on August 2nd and will feature Seattle-based collective Black Constellation. And for the third session we’ll be bringing in the Sub Pop’s own Mudhoney, as they also celebrate their 30th anniversary this year as well. Session 1: Sub Pop Loser Scholarship Winners. Session 2: Black Constellation. Session 3: Mudhoney’s 30th.
AUGUST 10TH SUB POP’S BIG 30TH ANNIVERSARY KICK-OFF SHOWCASE • THE MURAL AMPHITHEATRE • 5PM • ALL-AGES • FREE!!! A special Concert at the Mural presented by KEXP and Seattle Center with The Afghan Whigs, Mass Gothic, Yuno
A NIGHT OF COMEDY FROM THE CAST OF BOB’S BURGERS • THE MOORE THEATRE • 7PM DOOR • ALL-AGES [***SOLD OUT***] Featuring H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Larry Murphy, John Roberts
AUGUST 11TH SPF30: SUB POP’S 30TH ANNIVERSARY FESTIVAL• ALKI BEACH, WEST SEATTLE • NOON - 10PM • ALL- AGES • FREE!!! Beach House, Bully, Clipping, Kyle Craft, Father John Misty, Fastbacks, Hot Snakes, Jo Passed, Loma, LVL UP, METZ, Moaning, Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces, Wolf Parade, Caspar Babypants, The Not-Its!, and The School of Rock West Seattle House Band
THE CROCODILE • 8PM DOOR • 21 AND OVER • $16 The Unbelievably “Coincidental” 15th Anniversary of Pissed Jeans
Album release show at Zone One at Elsewhere (September 5th) & European dates (September 8th-13th).
“How I Love You” is the latest single from Mass Gothic’s cheekily titled forthcoming effort I’ve Tortured You Long Enough, available August 31st on Sub Pop. On the new track vocalist Jessica Zambri takes lead, delivering one of the album’s more immediate songs.
Mass Gothic previously announced international tour dates for 2018 in support of I’ve Tortured You Long Enough resume August 10th with a performance at Sub Pop’s Big 30th Anniversary Kick-Off Showcase with Afghan Whigs and Yuno at Seattle’s Mural Amphitheatre. Additional highlights include the band’s headline release show in Brooklyn at Zone One at Elsewhere (September 5th) and their European tour dates (September 8th-13th).
Aug. 10 - Seattle, WA - SPF30 at The Mural ^ Sep. 05 - Brooklyn, NY - Zone One at Elsewhere Sep. 08 - Tel Aviv, IS - Barby Sep. 09 - Berlin, DE - Monarch Sep. 10 - Hamburg, DE - Mojo Sep. 12 - London, UK - Sebright Arms Sep. 13 - Manchester, UK - The Castle ^ w/ The Afghan Whigs, Yuno
I’ve Tortured You Long Enough, which features the aforementioned “How I Love You,” the official video for “J.Z.O.K.” [watch here], and the lyric video for “Dark Window” [watch here], will be available on CD/LP/DL/CS worldwide through Sub Pop right here. Preorders of the album through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on marbled black and white vinyl (while supplies last).
2018 international tour schedule includes European dates October 26th-November 26th.
In Yuno’s official video for “Fall In Love,” from Moodie - his just-released debut - problems arise when a young couple can’t communicate. The new visual was directed by Mikey Alfred of skate brand and film crew Illegal Civilization and produced in conjunction with Apple Music [watch here].
Yuno has also added new, European dates supporting Unknown Mortal Orchestra to his 2018 tour schedule in support of Moodie. The trek begins October 26th at New Fall Festival in Stuttgart, Germany and run through November 26th at Glasgow, Scotland at SWG3. The tour will include shows in Antwerp, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Vienna, Zurich, London, and more. From November 4th-26th, Yuno will act as direct support for Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
These newly added shows follow Yuno’s previously announced late summer/early fall headlining, festival and support trek, August 18th-September 26th. Highlights include Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Weekend kick-off with The Afghan Whigs and Mass Gothic at Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheatre (August 11th) and supporting Superorganism (August 30th-September 26th).
Aug. 18 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits Aug. 23 - St. Louis, MO - Ready Room Aug. 24 - Omaha, NE - Reverb Aug. 25 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge Aug. 27 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court Aug. 28 - Boise, ID - Funky Taco Aug. 30 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom* Aug. 31 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial* Sep. 01 - Seattle, WA - Bumbershoot Sep. 04 - Kansas City, MO - Riot Room* Sep. 06 - Columbus, OH - A+R Bar* Sep. 07 - Detroit, MI - Underground at Dime Sep. 08 - Toronto, ON - The Garrison Sep. 10 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel* Sep. 11 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair* Sep. 12 - Washington, D.C. - Rock N Roll Hotel Sep. 13 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer* Sep. 17 - Dallas, TX - Trees* Sep. 18 - Houston, TX - White Oak* Sep. 19 - Austin, TX - Emo’s* Sep. 22 - Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theatre* Sep. 24 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah Sep. 25 - Pomona, CA - The Glasshouse* Sep. 26 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent* Sep. 27 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent* Oct. 26 - Stuttgart, DE - New Fall Festival Oct. 27 - Amsterdam, NL - London Calling Oct. 28 - Berlin, DE - Musik & Frieden Oct. 29 - Hamburg, DE - Molotow Sky bar Nov. 01 - Clermont-Ferrand, FR - La Coopérative de Mai^ Nov. 02 - Antwerp, BE - Trix Nov. 04 - Frankfurt, DE - Zoom^ Nov. 06 - Copenhagen, DK - Vega^ Nov. 07 - Stockholm, SE - Kagelbanan^ Nov. 08- Oslo, NO - Parkteatret^ Nov. 11 - Gronigen, NL - Ooosterpoort^ Nov. 13 - Vienna, AT - Flex^ Nov. 14 - Zurich, CH - Rote Fabrik^ Nov. 15 - Vevey, CH - Rocking Chair^ Nov. 16 - Amsterdam, NL - Melkweg^ Nov. 19 - Birmingham, UK - Institute^ Nov. 21 - London, UK - Royal Albert Hall^ Nov. 22 - Brighton, UK - Concorde 2^ Nov. 23 - Sheffield, UK - The Leadmill^ Nov. 26 - Glasgow, UK - SWG3^ * w/ Superorganism ^ w/ Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Moodie is available worldwide through Sub Pop here. The six-song effort features the breakout single ‘No Going Back’ along with the aforementioned ‘Fall In Love’ and ‘Why For.’ Moodie was written, performed, and produced by Yuno.
More dates added to Beast Epic world tour September - November 2018.
Iron & Wine are following up their 2018 Grammy-nominated full-length Beast Epic with the aptly titled EP, Weed Garden available worldwide on August 31st. Having gone over three years between releases prior to Beast Epic, Weed Garden arrives in short order, but right on time for Iron & Wine fans.
The six-song EP features material that was part of the writing phase for Beast Epic, but for various reasons went unfinished. The term “weed garden” could easily imply that which doesn’t belong, for principal songwriter Sam Beam, it was more about getting more “into the weeds” on a creative process to finish the material. Weed Garden serves as the perfect companion piece to last years full length.
While on tour last fall, the final pieces fell into place and a sense of urgency prevailed in bringing these songs to fruition. Space was created at the top of the year to return to The Loft recording studio in Chicago with the band behind Beast Epic - Joe Adamik, Jim Becker, Rob Burger and Teddy Rankin-Parker. The collection of songs range from urgent (“What Hurts Worse”) to fun (“Rock and Roll Heroes”) to personal (“Talking to Fog”). The tones and themes all feel part of the larger narrative that presented itself on Beast Epic bringing this collection of characters full circle. You can now listen (above) to lead off track “What Hurts Worse.”
Weed Garden also includes the fan favorite “Waves of Galveston”. Widely bootlegged, but never officially released until now, this track is the oldest song on the EP. It first appeared as an online performance video as part of The Onion’s AV Club “State Songs”. The Weed Garden artwork also features a series of original paintings from Iron & Wine’s principal songwriter Sam Beam. This cover joins the ranks of previous album covers, Endless Numbered Days, The Shepherd’s Dog, Kiss Each Other Clean and In the Reins that feature his paintings or drawings.
Iron & Wine’s previously announce fall tour schedule resumes on September 21st in Kansas City, MO at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland and runs through November 17th in Memphis, TX at the Orpheum Theatre.
Sep. 21 - Kansas City, MO - Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland* Sep. 22 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre* Sep. 23 - Salt Lake City, UT - Capitol Theatre* Sep. 24 - Boise, ID - Revolution Center* Sep. 26 - Eureka, CA - Arkley Center for the Performing Arts* Sep. 27 - Sacramento, CA - Crest Theatre* Sep. 28 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues* Sep. 29 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre* Sep. 30 - Sante Fe, NM - Lensic Performing Arts Center* Oct. 2 - Tulsa, OK - Cain’s Ballroom* Oct. 3 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant^ Oct. 4 - Milwaukee, WI - The Pabst Theater* Oct. 5 - Bloomington, IL - Castle Theatre* Oct. 6 - Columbus, OH - Southern Theatre* Nov. 2 - Ann Arbor, MI - Michigan Theater** Nov. 3 - Toronto, ON - Queen Elizabeth Theatre** Nov. 4 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre** Nov. 6 - Portland, ME - State Theatre** Nov. 7 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount** Nov. 8 - Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre** Nov. 9 - Norfolk, VA - NorVa** Nov. 10 - Raleigh, NC - Meymandi Concert Hall** Nov. 12 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium** Nov. 14 - Augusta, GA - Miller Theater** Nov. 15 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Theatre** Nov. 16 - Atlanta, GA - Buckhead Theatre** Nov. 17 - Memphis, TN - Orpheum Theatre** *w/ Erin Rae ** w/ Ohmme ^ w/ Carl Broemel
Beast Epic, the deeply personal sixth proper full-length album from Iron & Wine, received universal praise upon its release in the fall of 2017 [link here]. Rolling Stone said it was “Beam’s most dynamic and convincing record in years”, while Pitchfork noted that it was reminiscent of “the warm acoustic instrumentation of his early work”. The AV Club perhaps summed it up best with its “A-grade” review when they wrote “Beam has written his most affecting, impressive set of songs in a long time—maybe ever…scaling back the lavish orchestration while maintaining a sense of brightness and verve.”
On September 14th, Sub Pop will release 1 Time Mirage, the otherworldly debut long-player from the hermetic duo Knife Knights. The 11-track album features standouts “My Dreams Never Sleep,” and “Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage),” along with the previously released introductory single (+ official video) for “Give You Game [see here].” 1 Time Mirage features guest appearances from labelmates Shabazz Palaces and Porter Ray, along with Stas Thee Boss, OCnotes, Thaddillac, El Mizell, Marquetta Miller, Gerald Turner, and Darrius Willrich. The album was produced by Ishmael Butler and Erik Blood at Protect and Exalt: A Black Space in Seattle.
In further exciting news, Knife Knights make their live debut on KEXP in Seattle today. Watch now [see interview & live stream July 19th; noon PST]!
Knife Knights 1 Time Mirage will be available on CD/LP/DL/CS worldwide from Sub Pop. Preorders of the album through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition pressed on blue and white marbled vinyl.
Knife Knights 1 Time Mirage Tracklisting
1. Bionic Chords (feat. OCnotes & Darrius Willrich) 2. Drag Race Legend 3. Give You Game (feat. Marquetta Miller & Stas Thee Boss) 4. Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage) [feat. Porter Ray, Gerald Turner, Darrius Willrich, OCnotes & Shabazz Palaces] 5. Seven Wheel Motion 6. Low Key (feat. Shabazz Palaces) 7. My Dreams Never Sleep (feat. OCnotes, Marquetta Miller & Shabazz Palaces) 8. Light Work (feat. El Mizell) 9. Can’t Draw the Line (feat. OCnotes) 10. Come On Let’s Go (feat. OCnotes & Marquetta Miller) 11. Mr. President
[Photo Credit: Justin Henning]
Knife Knights were born of the love of mystery.
A decade ago, Ishmael Butler—the architect of the groundbreaking but long-disbanded hip-hop group Digable Planets—was preparing at last to emerge from years of near-complete silence. He unveiled his new outlet, Shabazz Palaces, in the summer of 2009 through a pair of self-released EPs, surrounding his hyperlinked verses with webs of psychedelic textures and refracted rhythms. From the start, confidentiality seemed essential: Butler wanted Shabazz Palaces to stand on its own strength, not his outsized reputation, so he adopted a nom de plume for himself.
As the project’s network expanded, though, he needed new monikers for his partnerships. Knife Knights is the name he gave to his work with Seattle engineer, producer, songwriter, and film composer Erik Blood, a vital force in the Shabazz Palaces universe. Now, after more than a decade of collaboration and the development into of a rich friendship, Butler and Blood have made a proper full-length record together as Knife Knights: 1 Time Mirage, an eleven-track odyssey that finds the pair and a cast of their friends weaving together a singular world of soul and shoegaze, hip-hop and lush noise, bass and bedlam. 1 Time Mirage represents a playground for Butler and Blood, a free space for unfettered exploration, and a radically adventurous start to something much more than a mere production duo or side project.
Butler and Blood met in 2003 at a Spiritualized show in Seattle, introduced by a mutual friend who was soon set to record Butler in his studio. A Digable Planets zealot, Blood was floored, passing a bootleg copy of Blowout Comb to his friend for an autograph (which Butler dutifully provided). For the next few years, they’d run into one another by chance and sometimes make small talk about working together. When Butler finally sent him a few tunes to mix, the kinship seemed obvious and immediate. Though Butler had grown up as a hip-hop student, he’d started absorbing shoegaze rock and ambient soundscapes, too. Blood, meanwhile, was an ardent hip-hop fan who had always been an inclusive listener. On every Shabazz Palaces album, Butler and Blood have delighted at that artistic intersection, constantly indoctrinating hip-hop in new worlds of sound. “He takes my ideas and clarifies and pronounces them, helps me realize them,” explains Butler. “He helps me get to the essence.”
Recorded in three fertile sessions interrupted by Shabazz Palaces tours and Blood’s recording projects, 1 Time Mirage is a profound fulfilment of that partnership, realized at the crossroads of Butler’s and Blood’s mutual enthusiasms. Their shared interests have been split into pieces and fused together with enviable imagination. Take “Give You Game,” where Butler and Blood weave their distant voices through a landscape of synthesizers and drums that bubble up sporadically, like geysers. Marquetta Miller and THEESatisfaction’s Stasia Irons soon join, their round tones lacing around those sounds and giving them shape. It is an abstract anthem to astral love.
“Low Key” suggests a radiant daydream, with kaleidoscopic synthesizers and faded harmonies pirouetting over puzzle pieces of dizzying percussion and understated funk. “Can’t Draw the Line” rushes headlong like some narcotized disco fantasy, with its four planted firmly on the floor but Butler’s breathy voice and an armada of synthesizers stretching skyward. They splice doo-wop harmonies to scattered dub rhythms during “Light Up Ahead (Time Mirage),” hard-edged verses to industrial din during “ Mr. President.” Colossal drums puncture walls of labyrinthine noise sculpted from deranged synthesizers and mutated guitars during “Seven Wheel Motion,” an absolute powerhouse. Butler seems to rap in dialogue with himself, detailing a threatening streetscape and shaping the experience into personal realizations. “Smooth landings, queens in tandems, cash in grand sums,” he declares at one point. “Life is random/I roll the dice and bet on me.”
In the decade since Butler launched Shabazz Palaces and first christened his partnership with Blood as Knife Knights, much of that project’s external mystery has, of course, fallen away. And 1 Time Mirage is a very public step forward for the pair. That early sense of secrecy has given way to a spirit of friendship and creative candor, to the doors of experimentation being thrown open by old pals thrilled by the prospect of testing new ideas.
Still, these eleven songs retain a core of intrigue and, indeed, mystery; each listen reveals yet another connection between infinite and interlocking pieces. To wit, Robert Beatty’s brilliant cover for 1 Time Mirage depicts a futuristic vehicle, being coolly steered with one hand into some great, mildly ominous unknown. That’s how these songs feel, too—confident conquests of the dark that unlock sounds and spaces you have yet to imagine.