The Soft Moon: "Insides"

A new track from The Soft Moon's upcoming release, Zeros, appeared this week. Typical of Luis Vasquez (Mr. Soft Moon, himself), the song is stark, cold and danceable with a very engaging low end.  I usually love the bass harmonies Vasquez employs.  Inasmuch as The Soft Moon is emulative of an era long gone, the way Vasquez chooses to reinvigorate an old formula sounds fresh to me and I think this has a lot to do with the way he works rhythmically.  There's nothing too remarkable about the guitar effects or even the calculable chill that fills every riff, (even though I enjoy this), but there is something about his bass rhythms.  I'm going to try and review Zeros at some point.  In the meantime, check out "Insides."


The Soft Moon photo by Julie Bonato
The Soft Moon was never intended for the public's ears, but you found it, were drawn in by its danger, and insisted that others hear. Oakland's Luis Vasquez began the project in order to better know his own self. He'd holed up in his apartment and let the tape roll, allowing gut and memory guide him. Those twin sherpas, however, led him to a place of darkness, claustrophobia and dread: a musical wasteland moving to a Motorik tic, its edges made jagged in the image of early post-punk, swathed in the moody atmosphere of vintage darkwave. Now, because the word has spread, the Soft Moon waxes again, returning with a most vicious, seething and focused second album: Zeros.

There've been some changes. While 2010's
The Soft Moon LP was recorded entirely in solitude in an utter absence of expectation, these ten songs were written and recorded between days on the road. Out there The Soft Moon sound had expanded into a full-band attack accompanied by immersive video visuals. Vasquez needed the new work to be just as primal and enveloping, and so set to paring down his post-apocalyptic soundscapes. What was began as barely controlled exorcism became an exercise in control, and after six months of intently shaping Zeros on his own, Vasquez met with producer/engineer Monte Vallier at his San Francisco studio where he could get loud, beat on things, scream.

The result is complete immersion.
Zeros opens with "It Ends," a rumbling eerie epic that explodes and then fades. The slowing breath and pulse at the finish signify our break with reality as consciousness drifts deeper into Vasquez' world. Welcoming us into "Machines," a demon utters unclear incantations over snapping drums and flange-warped tones, while the titular song gives us a beat to dance to as a strange voice gushes lascivious "aahhhs" from a cloud of swirling synths. Songs like "Insides" and "Crush" feel utterly inward-looking-a loner's cry buried in soil and metal shavings-but "Remember the Future" bounces like a twisted John Carpenter score, and "Die Life" lashes out at everything within reach. Listen closely and you'll hear the sounds of the creatures and people that survived whatever catastrophe created this space: chirping insects, bawling whales, strained howls, jungle percussion, tribal chanting. It's this basic stuff that makes Zeros familiar-the animal need to not be alone in the dark, to be heard by another living thing even whilst working solo, The Soft Moon as the lone wolf. This becomes clearest as the album approaches its close and the whipcrack snares of "Lost Years" give way to the wild hand drums of "Want." The aggressively hypnotic build eventually runs smack into the wall of "ƨbnƎ ƚI," a reversal of the opener that slowly, surely, delivers us back to the waking world-untouched, yes, but not unchanged.

MP3: "Insides" -


MP3: "Die Life" -

The Soft Moon

(Captured Tracks)
Oct 30, 2012

1. It Ends

2. Machines
3. Zeros
4. Insides
5. Remember the Future
6. Crush
7. Die Life
8. Lost Years
9. Want
10. ƨbnƎ ƚI


09-20 Brooklyn, NY - Glasslands * %  
09-21 Montreal, Quebec - La Sala Rossa * 
09-22 Toronto, Ontario - The Drake * 
09-23 Pontiac, MI - Crofoot Ballroom * 
09-24 Indianapolis, IN - White Rabbit Cabaret * 
09-25 Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox * 
10-30 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom § + 
10-31 Middletown, CT - Eclectic House § 
11-01 Rochester, NY - Bug Jar § 
11-02 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom § 
11-03 Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern § 
11-04 Columbus, OH - Ace of Cups § 
11-05 Asheville, NC - Broadway's 
11-06 Atlanta, GA - 529 § 
11-07 Athens, GA - Caledonia Lounge § 
11-08 Durham, NC - The Pinhook § 
11-09 Washington, DC - Black Cat § 
11-10 Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar § 
11-13 Strasbourg, France - Musèe d'Art Contemporain 
11-14 Rennes, France - Antipode @ $ 
11-15 Paris, France - Point Ephémère # 
11-16 Metz, France - Les Trinitaires @ 
11-17 Lyon, France - Le Sonic # 
11-18 Lausanne, Switzerland - Le Romandie # 
11-19 Stuttgart, Germany - 1210 # 
11-20 Köln, Germany - MTC # 
11-21 Berlin, Germany - Festsaal Kreuzberg # 
11-22 Hamburg, Germany - Hafenklang # 
11-23 London, England - Cargo # 
11-24 Bristol, England - Start the Bus # 
11-25 Leeds, England - Brudnell Social Club # 
11-26 Manchester, England - Ruby Lounge # 
11-27 Birmingham, England - Hare and Hounds # 
11-28 Brighton, England - Greenstore # 
11-29 Brussels, Belgium - Magasin 
11-30 Utrecht, Netherlands - Le Guess Who? Festival # 
12-01 Frankfurt, Germany - Nachtleben # 
12-02 Prague, Czech Republic - Meat Factory # 
12-03 München, Germany - Orangehouse # 
12-6 Barcelona, Spain - Mercat de Les Flors (Primavera Club) 
12-12 Los Angeles, CA - Echo § 
12-13 San Diego, CA - Casbah § 
12-14 Oakland, CA - The New Parish § 
12-15 San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine § 
12-18 Portland, OR - Holocene § 
12-19 Seattle, WA - Barboza § 
12-20 Vancouver, British Columbia - Waldorf §

* with Cold Showers
% with ERAAS
§ with Group Rhoda

+ with Pop. 1280 
# with Dracula Lewis 
@ with Ty Segall 
$ with Xiu Xiu 

Letters From A Tapehead


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