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alt-J’s new album is calledTheDream– a installation title because that a document of together intrigue, beauty and also hidden darkness, recorded throughout the pandemic, however not necessarily a product the it. It’s a record about murder, love, Coca- Cola, twisted logic, revenge, crypto currencies, loss, hope and also frequently every little thing you you yourself decide it’s about.
After win the Mercury prize in 2012 v their debut albumAn awesome Wave, Joe Newman
They sampled Miley Cyrus, collaborated through hip-hop alt. Heroes Pusha T, little Simz and Danny Brown top top 2018 remix albumReduxer, and made history by co-creating the first immersive sound present of its type at new York’s woodland Hill stadion in the summer the 2018, wherein 360 level speakers make the performance sound prefer it was optimised especially for every single member that the audience, no matter where they stood in the venue.
As the shows eventually wound down, the London-based trio agreed that 2019 would certainly be collection aside as a year of reflection and recharge. “I felt prefer withRelaxerwe had actually reached the end of something,” claims Unger-Hamilton today. “I think v this album you deserve to tell that we feel rested and also excited to be making music again.”
The Dream, alt-J’s fourth album, started life ~ above schedule, in January 2020, when the band an initial regrouped in ~ their own studio – a rented house in eastern London, to work-related on early on ideas. Navigating Covid as it arrived and also hung roughly – with green shielding transparent the pandemic and often functioning remotely –The Dreamwas tape-recorded from august 2020 till June 2021 in this semi-treated room with long-time producer Charlie Andrew. What slowly arised was a record of intrigue and also ambiguity that fizzes with a rejuvenated sense of experimentalism.
“When we very first met up after the year off, i was pretty nervous around it,” says Green. “I wasn’t certain what us were going come do and how i was going come feel around it. Yet I always forget just how easy that is. It feels instinctual. Because that me, personally, I just know what to do. The felt yes, really uplifting.” The rest of the band common the same “back to school” nerves, “but prefer Thom says, friend forget just how easy the is,” claims Newman, “and how easily the writing deserve to unfold.”
No monitor proves the point an ext than the first the band worked on.‘U&ME’came native a batch that soundcheck jams the band videotaped on tour, but felt virtually like a pre-written song as soon as the tape listened earlier to its tape in London, even if they couldn’t remember play it. “It gathered momentum on it’s own, really,” remembers Newman. “It was best to just get out of its way. We were simply there.”
A laid back holiday groove, in theme and also tone, through deceivingly dense layers the percussion (something of an alt-J calling card), the sounds together effortless together the band say it was to make – a joyous no-brainer of a lead single for their new album.
It’s one of theThe Dream’s most direct tracks, together the closing‘Powders’, i m sorry recalls the unmistakable rush of young love (“‘Free house’ – the greatest two words to hear in ~ 16”), and the beautifully sad‘Get Better’, about the slow fatality of a life partner. With the tape stripped under to Newman and a solo acoustic guitar, with the occasional vocal harmony from Unger-Hamilton and also plaintive piano chords, if that wasn’t for its unforgettable torchlight melody it’d nearly be too lot to bear because that a 2nd listen. Or as Unger-Hamilton put it: “When Joe first played it come me i didn’t just gain a little bit tearful, I damaged down. A big, huge cry. A cry of the year.”
‘Get Better’ functions the album’s just lyric the placesThe Dreamsmack bang in the middle of the pandemic –“I’ll start the day with tiramisu, advanced a spoon to frontline workers / an underfunded principle, they threat all to it is in there because that us”. The album comes v its fair share of basic darkness, but the band say that it hasn’t come from Covid-19. “For me, lyrically and also thematically, there’s an ext talk around true crime in this album 보다 the pandemic,” says Newman. “If we’re going come talk about themes and also concepts, over there are much more songs around people gift murdered. It’s favor fantasy and also escaping, and that’s what we’ve always done in our albums – it’s always about falling in love, shedding love, and losing loved ones. It’s what I’m attracted to, lyrically.”
Newman’s big inspiration forThe Dreamhas to be the true crime podcasts he’s feasted on over the last five years – in specific My Favourite Murder. “It’s an oxymoron, in the civilised point of see that the doesn’t sound right,” he states of the show’s title. “But actually, we’re attracted to these sort of things, and also having one open place to talk around them is a positive way of protecting yourself.”
Darkness favor this has lived in all of alt-J’s albums come date, occasionally missed by casual listeners as result of Newman’s purposeful use of ambiguity. It’s what’s offered alt-J song such continuing to be power over the last 9 year – the video game of interpreting, unpicking and also reinterpreting what this unusual, cryptic songs are all about. “For me, the finest thing around writing is focussing on each sentence as a vignette and also then sewing them every together, therefore they type some kind of coherence however you’re not completely sure what you’re hear to,” Newman explains. “And the truth that it’s ambiguous leader you to desire to hear to that more.
“It’s so boring telling someone just how to feel about something; girlfriend actually want to sell them something the brings increase a strong visual response, and also then they can step into that people and shot to visualise it themselves. That’s far an ext interesting.”
OnThe Dream, this strategy to storytelling gives us‘Happier as soon as You’re Gone’– a breakup tune of relatable escape on one level; ~ above another, the turning back of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Hey Joe’, wherein Joe’s “old lady” refuses to stay in this abusive relationship, kills she tormentor and also burns the body – and the slowcore secure rush of‘Losing my Mind’– an exploration into the logic of a serial killer, containing for this reason much space it can mean something totally different every time you hear to it, there is no you having to think of killing at all.
Elsewhere, the band are just as confident centring your songs around Coca-Cola (the opening‘Bane’), the hysterical nature the crypto currencies (the tongue-in-cheek‘Hard journey Gold’, which has Newman yelping“Don’t be fear to make money, boy”– “It’s a little bit choose a ‘Left Hand Free’ form of song,” the says), and also the cautionary story of ‘The Actor’, that sells cocaine to support his desires in Hollywood and also either walk or didn’t supply man Belushi v his fatal sheep at the Chateau Marmont in 1982. Again, faint is alt-J’s supervisor power, current too in the album’s title, motivated somewhere in between the dreamlike duration the album was recorded in, through a an international pandemic, and a Picasso paint of the exact same name.
Musically,The Dreamis as differed as its lyrical themes, every the while staying distinctively an alt-J album. It’s inescapable when you placed together Green’s whip-crack drums, as void of cymbals as ever, Newman’s serpentine guitar lines and also unmistakable vocals, and also Unger-Hamilton’s irrepressible synth hooks and newfound ability in base guitar. There space plenty of locations for them to hide alt-J Easter eggs because that existing pan (keep an ear out for the Yamaha “yeaaaaah” sample), while advertise themselves to discover ’80s brand-new romantic balladry (‘The Actor’), southerly blues (‘Walk a Mile’) and also the occasional blast of opera (‘Philadelphia’).
Further experimenting, the vocal samples you’re hearing aren’t samples at all – no clips indigenous crackling TVs and fuzzy radio plays however purpose-recorded parts, perform by the band’s friends and family. Groups and artists are always saying the their brand-new album is your most personal yet, but in this sense, it’s really much the case for alt-J andThe Dream. The voice that says “Scum!” in ‘Hard journey Gold’ is Unger-Hamilton’s mum, yielded via WhatsApp. His wife gives backing top top ‘The Actor’. Green’s girlfriend and also Newman’s parents likewise feature, if the voice that starts the album at the height of ‘Bane’ – a track that green likens to the sonic palate of the album in microcosm, shifting and unfurling together it does v no means of knowing where it’s going following – is the band’s sound tech enjoying a Coke, videotaped on tour.
“We had this moment on the third album, where we had actually this song and also we were going down a really route one road, and we didn’t realise till we’d created it that it sounded very alt-j light,” says Newman when talking around the band’s appetite to try brand-new things. “That was one of the scariest moments, because you’re like, ‘fuck, how numerous songs are we currently going to create that we’re not influenced by?’. And also we had to work hard at addressing exactly how to prevent those pitfalls. On this album, us didn’t should think about that at all, and it was amazing that we had this momentum and also thirst for composing something new.”
The Dreamis the sound of a tape experimenting much more than they ever before have, recharged and reinvigorated after their longest break however – the twelve tracks do for the fullest sounding alt-J record yet. It to be a concerted effort from every involved, with environment-friendly saying: “We felt like at this point in our career, ~ so lengthy off, we needed to come ago strong.” WithThe Dreamthey have completed this, and also then some: that is a bolder album the draws the dots in between the band’s trademark sounds, a record that find alt-J mastering the arts of balancing testing with moment of pure ecstasy.
Bio: Portugal. The Man
Over the previous decade, Portugal The guy has established themselves as one of rock’s most prized possessions and also a live phenomenon, with over 1,600 shows under their belts and also a storied reputation together festival favorites.
Originally advertising from Alaska, the Portland-based band – made up of john Gourley, Zach Carothers, Kyle O’Quin, Eric Howk, Jason Sechrist and Zoe Manville – soared to new heights in 2017 through the relax of their RIAA certified-gold album, Woodstock. The album was marked by the astounding success that their transmittable single, “Feel that Still,” i m sorry earned the team a plethora of brand-new accolades – including a GRAMMY award for “Best pop Duo/Group Performance,” a 6x RIAA platinum certified single certification, a mind-blowing 20-week residency in ~ #1 on alternate radio, and an inescapable presence ~ above the optimal 40 airwaves.
Alongside the shine of their myriad musical accomplishments lies the group’s long-standing passion for social justice. In fact, this is exactly the intersection on i beg your pardon Portugal The male thrives; throughout your career, the band has actually consistently exemplified exactly how to deeply commit to both artistry and activism. This dynamic influenced them to officially launch your PTM structure in 2020, focused on universal worries related to human being rights, community health, and also the environment, with an emphasis on reasons directly impacting aboriginal Peoples.
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Their continued passion because that activism has additionally led to recent partnerships with establishments such as the nationwide Coalition versus Censorship, The Skatepark project (helping communities build public skate parks for youth in underserved communities), March for Our resides (Gun Reform), store Oregon well (Mental Health), and Protect Our winter (Climate Change), come name just a few.