Thursday, August 8th, 2013
(I Don't Mean To) Wonder
Neil Halstead rediscovers his distortion pedals, forms Black Hearted Brother
FacebookFor as long as he’s been out of Slowdive – and probably longer, if you consider how much a departure their electronic-ambient final record Pygmalion was – Neil Halstead has been hearing fans beg him to return to his electric, amplified roots as a shoegazing pioneer, never mind that everything he’s done in the past 20 years, from fronting the cosmic-country Mojave 3 to his current acoustic-folkie solo carer – has been in the opposite trajectory. And while for the longest time, he’d deflect live requests for Slowdive songs with “that’s another band”, on his last tour he finally relented and included versions of “Alison” and “40 Days” in the set, even bringing along a delay pedal for proper effect. This, combined with comments made last Summer that a Slowdive reunion wasn’t out of the question – even with Rachel Goswell basically retired from music – set hopeful shoegazing hearts a-flutter with the prospect that the previously unthinkable might happen and Halstead would want to make some bona fide noise again.
And indeed he does, just not in the way that people necessarily expected. I thank The Dumbing Of America for pointing me yesterday to Black Hearted Brother, a new band featuring Halstead and two friends with producer credits on Mojave 3 and Halstead solo records – Mark Van Hoen, ex of Seefeel and Nick Holton, apparently of something called Holton’s Opulant Oog. Some years in the making – and perhaps indirectly responsible for Halstead’s renewed interest in his old works – they’ve come together to create something loud, trippy, and tuneful, or at least that’s what the first song from the project – premiered at Spin – would imply. Their debut album Stars Are Our Home will be out on October 22, and on a thread on his own Facebook page, Halstead sounds genuinely enthused about the project and mentions that he hopes to tour behind it. Here’s hoping that if they do, they’ll have rehearsed a few Slowdive songs for the inevitable requests.
Mumford & Sons have released a new video from Babel which aims to trigger crises of faith amongst those who hate their band but love actors Ed Helms, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte; Rolling Stone finds out how the clip came together. They play The Molson Amphitheatre on August 26.
Frightened Rabbit are streaming one of the three new tracks that will appear on their Woodpile EP when it comes out on September 1; Chicago Magazine and Red Bull Music also have interviews. They are in town at The Kool Haus on October 17.
Stream: Delorean – “Destitute Time”
CHVRCHES have released a new video for one of their oldest songs; it will appear on their debut The Bones of What You Believe when it comes out on September 24. They play the Danforth Music Hall on September 15.
Trailer: Anna Calvi / One Breath
M83 has somehow squeezed another video out of 2011’s Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, and if you live in the US you can watch it via Stereogum. Everyone else can, evidently, suck it. Thank goodness for people who know how to rip YouTube videos.
Video: M83 – “Claudia Lewis”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Stormur”