Loma (Emily Cross, Dan Duszynski, and Jonathan Meiburg) have returned withDon’t Shy Away, their incredibly absorbing new album and the follow-up to their acclaimed, self-titled debut, which will be available on CD/LP/CS/DL October 23rd, 2020 on Sub Pop. The eleven-track effort featuring the standouts “Ocotillo,” “Half Silences,” ”Elliptical Days,” and “Homing,” was produced and recorded by the band at Dandysounds in Dripping Strings, Texas—with the exception of “Homing,” which was produced by Brian Eno.
More on Loma’s Don’t Shy Away: On December 26th, 2018, Emily Cross received an excited email from a friend: Brian Eno was talking about her band on BBC radio. “At first I didn’t think it was real,” she admits. But then she heard a recording: Eno was praising “Black Willow” from Loma’s self-titled debut, a song whose minimal groove and hypnotic refrain seem as much farewell as a manifesto: I make my bed beside the road / I carry a diamond blade / I will not serve you. He said he’d had it on repeat.
At the time, a second Loma album seemed unlikely. The band began as a serendipitous collaboration between Cross, the multi-talented musician and recording engineer Dan Duszynski, and Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg, who wanted to play a supporting role after years at the microphone. They’d capped a grueling tour with a standout performance on a packed beach at Sub Pop’s SPF 30 festival, in which Cross leapt into the crowd, and then into the sea, while the band carried on from the stage—an emotional peak that also felt like a natural ending. “It was the biggest audience we’d ever had,” she says. “We thought, why not stop here?”
[Photo Credit: Bryan C. Parker]
Following the tour, Cross went to rural Mexico to work on visual art and a solo record, while Meiburg began a new Shearwater effort. But after a few months apart (and Eno’s encouraging words), the trio changed their minds and reconvened at Duszynski’s home in rural Texas, where they began to develop songs that would become Don’t Shy Away. Loma writes by consensus, and though Cross is always the singer, she, Duszynski and Meiburg often trade instruments. Meiburg compares their process to using a ouija board, and says the songs revealed themselves slowly, over many months. “Each of us is a very strong flavor,” he says, “but in Loma, nobody wears the crown, so we have to trust each other—and we end up in places none of us would have gone on our own. I think we all wanted to experience that again.” The album that emerged is gently spectacular—a vivid work whose light touch belies its timely themes of solitude, impermanence, and finding light in deep darkness. Stuck / beneath / a rock, Cross begins, as if noticing her predicament for the first time. Then she adds: I begin to see / the beauty in it.
It’s a couplet that evokes the album in miniature. Don’t Shy Away is shot through with revelations, both joyful (“Given a Sign”) and sober (the clear-eyed title track), and winds from moment to moment with confidence and humor. Like Loma’s first effort, there’s a tangible and sensuous feeling of place; insects sing in the trees, an ill-fitting door creaks in the wind. But there’s also a daring and hard-won wisdom, underlined by Cross’s benevolent clarinet, which often sounds like an extension of her singing voice. “Ocotillo”’s desert landscape unreels into a blazing sun; “Elliptical Days” seems to ascend endlessly like Escher’s circling monks; the jubilant “Breaking Waves Like a Stone” appears out of a haze of synthesizers that pulse like fireflies. A series of guests wander through these absorbing soundscapes, including touring members Emily Lee (piano, violin) and Matt Schuessler (bass), Flock of Dimes/Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and a surprisingly bass-heavy horn section.
And then there’s Brian Eno. Loma invited him to participate in the mantra-like “Homing,” which concludes the album, and sent him stems to interact with in any way he liked. He never spoke directly with the band, but his completed mix arrived via e-mail late one night, without warning, and they gathered to listen in the converted bedroom Duszynski uses as a control room. “I was a little worried,” says Cross. “What if we didn’t like it?” But it was all they’d hoped for: minimal but enveloping, friendly but enigmatic, as much Loma as Eno—a perfect ending to an album about finding a new home inside an old one. I am somewhere that you know, Cross sings, above a chorus of her bandmates’ blended voices. I am right behind your eyes.
Watch Washed Out’s performance of “Too Late,” one of the highlights from Purple Noon, his forthcoming album, for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s #PlayAtHome series. See here, then watch/stream the album version here.
Ernest Greene offers this of his performance, “The Ableton Push was created to add a hardware style interface that could give the Ableton Live software more of a tactile experience. While it’s great for aiding the recording workflow within Ableton; the lack of heavy customization really holds back the performance potential in my humble opinion. However, there is a user-mode where you can basically “hack” the interface and completely reprogram the look and feel of the controller. In my mind, this represents the musical instrument of the future - where not only can one musician replicate an entire band - but with clever color coding and animation it can really make each instrumental part come to life.
“I recorded this version of “Too Late” in the early stages of the pandemic - where the other guys in the band weren’t available to jam in person. Much of Washed Out’s sound relates to the detailed audio production - so this is the closest thing I could get to a solo WO performance (All audio, color and animation are programmed using built-in midi-based tools in Ableton Live).”
Purple Noon, his first full-length in three years, will be available on CD/LP/CS/DSPs on August 7th, 2020 worldwide through Sub Pop. The 10-track effort which features the lead single “Time to Walk Away,” along with standouts “Too Late,” and “Paralyzed,” was produced and recorded by Ernest Greene and mixed by Ben H. Allen in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jon Benjamin - Jazz Daredevil’s The Soundtrack Collection, the follow up to the visionary’s jazz-piano masterpiece Well, I Should Have…Learned How to Play Piano, is out today Friday, July 24th and available throughout the known universe from Sub Pop.
The Soundtrack Collection finds Benjamin striding boldly into the rarefied worlds of classic film music, and the Moog synthesizer. The album was performed by Benjamin and The Budapest Scoring Orchestra, and produced by Zachary Seman, and Roger Kleinman. Watch the album’s trailer here now, and also here now. You can (and should also) stream the album here.
The Soundtrack Collection which is available from megamart.subpop.com, and select independent retailers in North America, the UK, and Europe is available in a limited edition Clear with Orange swirl vinyl. A new “Sci-Fi Sound” patch will also be available with Megamart and select independent retail purchases (while supplies last).
Jon Benjamin - Jazz Daredevil The Soundtrack Collection Tracklisting: 1. Danger Zone (Theme from Top Gun) 2. Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) 3. Chariots of Fire (Theme from Chariots of Fire) 4. Axel F (Theme to Beverly Hills Cop) 5. In the Moog 6. Love Story (Theme from Love Story) 7. Theme from Halloween 8. Theme from Miami Vice 9. Duelin’ Moogs
More on Jon Benjamin - Jazz Daredevil’s The Soundtrack Collection: “WHY ANOTHER ALBUM? The question must be screaming in your mind. In 2015, I started my jazz journey. Even I thought it would end, but the spirits of sound, they keep pulling at me. At times, I’ve danced with the demons of malaise and grappled with the warlocks of uncertainty. This collection represents a rebirth/afterbirth. A reforming of what I have done and what has been done before me. A voyage into a more futuristic soundscape, like a drunk (very drunk), crazed cosmonaut’s first spacewalk. A burnt offering to the Gods of Providence—Gods that take from us mercilessly the corpuscular light of what we give, fractured through our prism of inability. My work may be an affront, but is our collective affront. My sins are unwavering but my jazz is my confession; each note a cleansing; the sound of the squeezing of an overripe peach and the juice putrid. These songs, like spumes of spite, are sufferings, profane grumbles, and they weave their thread into your soul like falcon’s talons into the belly of a bunny. Every compression is an impression (not sure what this means) but I think I’m talking about compressing the keys on the keyboard. But in them all are ‘sharts of hope’. I crash expectations. I throw poo in the face of my oppressors. I scream like a baby bird to the legions. I, by my own hand, mock the clouds for forming, cry ecstatic till temples crumble. I, by my own hands, shake the world. I am, like William Morris once wrote, ‘the haystack in the floods.’ I am, for all time, the Jazz Daredevil.”
On October 9th, METZ will release Atlas Vending, the most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career. Covering seemingly disparate themes such as paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia, and the restless urge to leave everything behind, each of Atlas Vending’s ten songs offers a snapshot of today’s modern condition and together form a musical and narrative whole.
The first single from Atlas Vending, “A Boat to Drown In,” is, according to METZ’s Alex Edkins, “…about leaving a bad situation behind. About overcoming obstacles that once held you back, rising above, and looking to a better future. The title refers to immersing yourself fully into what you love and using it as a sanctuary from negativity and a catalyst for change.” The band has shared a new video for the track which Video Director Tony Wolski sought to visually enhance and expand on these ideas. Wolski: “The song has a beautiful, crushing numbness to it that we wanted to mirror in the visual. So we chose to romanticize our main character’s descent into her delusions of love and togetherness. At a time when everyone’s simultaneously coping with some sort of isolation, a story about loneliness—and the mania that comes with it—seems appropriate to tell.”
Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Atlas Vending, the band’s fourth full-length album, sounds massive, articulate, and earnest.
Preorders of Atlas Vending are now available from Sub Pop. LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com, METZ’s merch store and select independent retailers in North America will receive the limited Loser Edition on pearlescent grey and silver vinyl. Vinyl preorders in the UK and Europe from select independent retailers will receive the Loser Edition on light rose colored vinyl. A new t-shirt design will be available as well. And in Canada, Atlas Vending will be available from Royal Mountain Records.
METZ Atlas Vending Tracklisting: 1. Pulse 2. Blind Youth Industrial Park 3. The Mirror 4. No Ceiling 5. Hail Taxi 6. Draw Us In 7. Sugar Pill 8. Framed by the Comet’s Tail 9. Parasite 10. A Boat to Drown In
About Atlas Vending:
“Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” says guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins while talking about Atlas Vending, the fourth full-length album by Toronto’s METZ. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.” The music made by Edkins and his compatriots Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass) has always been a little difficult to pin down. Their earliest recordings contained nods to the teeming energy of early ‘90s DIY hardcore, the aggravated angularities of This Heat, and the noisy riffing of AmRep’s quintessential guitar manglers, but there was never a moment where METZ sounded like they were paying tribute to the heroes of their youth. If anything, the sonic trajectory of their albums captured the journey of a band shedding influences and digging deeper into their fundamental core—steady propulsive drums, chest-thumping bass lines, bloody-fingered guitar riffs, the howling angst of our fading innocence. With Atlas Vending, METZ not only continues to push their music into new territories of dynamics, crooked melodies, and sweat-drenched rhythms, they explore the theme of growing up and maturing within a format typically suspended in youth.
Covering seemingly disparate themes such as paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia, and the restless urge to leave everything behind, each of Atlas Vending’s ten songs offers a snapshot of today’s modern condition and together form a musical and narrative whole. Album opener “Pulse” is a completely unnerving exercise in reductionist tension, with verses providing little more than a lone discordant chord, a hammering kick drum, and the occasional punctuation of a diving bass note. From there METZ launches into “Blind Youth Industrial Park,” an absolute scorcher of paranoid dissonance and malicious force centered on a chromatic descending riff and a merciless four-to-the-floor drum battery.
The album hits its stride with “No Ceiling”—a minute-and-a-half rager that comes about as close to containing a pop hook as anything METZ has ever written. Though it’s still saturated with in-the-red distortion, this truncated anthem about discovering love and purpose provides the rare counterpoint to the band’s grievous compositions. But there’s no yielding to complacency on Atlas Vending, and the mercurial nature of love and romance is expertly captured in the alternately brutal verses and beguiling choruses of “Hail Taxi.” If METZ’s current mission is to mirror the inevitable struggles of adulthood, they’ve successfully managed to tap into the conflicted relationship between rebellion and revelry with the song’s tactics of offsetting their signature bombast with anthemic melodic resolutions.
The song sequencing follows a cradle-to-grave trajectory, spanning from primitive origins through increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys all the way to the climactic closer, “A Boat to Drown In.” The lyrics speak to this arc as well, with the songs addressing life’s struggles all the way through to death, as Edkins snarls “crashed through the pearly gates and opened up my eyes, I can see it now” before the band launches into the album’s cascading outro.
While past METZ albums thrived on an abrasive relentlessness, the trio embarked on Atlas Vending with the goal to make a more patient and honest record—something that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating bludgeonings. It’s as if the band realized they were in it for the long haul, and their music could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations. The result is a record that sounds massive, articulate, and earnest. Bolstered by the co-production of Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and the engineering and mixing skills of Seth Manchester (Daughters, Lingua Ignota, The Body) at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, METZ deliver the most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career.
Like so many of you, we are spending A LOT of time at home these days. And, because (despite all the sarcasm…) we really do care about you guys a whole lot, we are here to help!
Coloring Sheet #3 has arrived, and it’s as true today as it was in 1991… Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge! That’s right, Mudhoney’s timeless classic is now available in the rare and sought after coloring sheet format. Download the full-size .jpeg here.
BEHOLD below: Sub Pop Coloring Sheet #1, the first in a series of at least one! (Avail to you, FOR FREE, as either a JPEG or TIFF.)
Simply by downloading, printing and then applying your own, unique art-like skills to this handy, Sub Pop-based, at-home coloring-fun activity, you will avail yourself of an opportunity to…
While away the hours between waking to what really seems kind of like the same day over and over again, and the sweet release of sleep!
Distract yourself from the great, yawning chasm of doubt and dread opening ever wider at our very feet!
Sharpen up your skills, in preparation for an assuredly satisfying career in the world of fine art!
Show off your individual flair and good taste!
Create something delightful to post on social media and then (OF COURSE) tag us! (@subpop #subpopcoloring) There is the distinct possibility we will be moved to feature the best/weirdest/funniest of these in our Instagram feed!
Fun, right? WE KNOW!
We have also very recently created new Sub Pop-branded “Work From Home” playlists sure to provide you with minutes upon minutes of pure listening ECSTASY through many of today’s popular music streaming services. Please access these playlists here!
(You can also listen to the playlist that the art for Sub Pop Coloring Sheet #1 normally accompanies, not at all coincidentally titled “Home Is Where All of These Bands Are,” at any of the several streaming options available to you here!)
Please note: we owe a debt of great gratitude to our Late 30’s Art Director Sasha Barr for creating the art for these playlists, the associated Coloring Sheet #1, and so much more.