2020 Playlist — No Age, Féleth, Lungbutter, Vile Creature, Sis, The Soft Pink Truth, Alizarin, Chip Wickham, Desire, Beauty Pill

Finishing up April with some more additions to the 2020 Playlist.

We're heading into another month under lockdown, so I hope that you're all putting aside some time for necessary respite from the... well, from everything. The influx of media is barely navigable or cohesive at this point, an unstoppable barrage of sound bites, news briefs and articles. Please stay safe. Please stay sane. And please be sure to thank anyone who works to keep our essential businesses and health services open and running despite the risks, making those of us lucky enough to function well at home comfortable, fed, and safe.


No Age: "War Dance"
(via mutante / Drag City / Bandcamp)

Album Preorder

Via mutante/Drag City:

With the digital release date for Goons Be Gone quickly approaching (June 5 for all you noobs), it's definitely time to share another single; dare we say, it's a marvelous night for a "War Dance"! Strafing the listener from the first moment, "War Dance" is the blasted, raging sound of No Age we've come to know and love so dearly. Listen and you'll hear Randy Randall's wigged out guitar whisk the atmospheric tone into a frenzy, leaping into overdrive for the chorus and double-overdrive for the second chorus! Simultaneously, toying with Mark E. Smith vocal cadences, Dean Spunt's call-to-action lyrics and battleground drumming flood the senses like a tsunami crashing onto land. It's one solid blast threatening to obliterate all the ears with newly found vitality and evolutionary sound - check and mate, No Age!

"War Dance" features No Age at their most frenetic and impenetrable, and, thank the war gods, it's out now!


Féleth: "Arise"
(via Asher Media Relations / DeadPop Records / YouTube)

Via Asher Media Relations:

Nestled in the small northern Norwegian town of Alta, far above the Arctic circle, there’s a rumbling of brutality shaking the earth from a young, dynamic metal quintet known as Féleth. Creating heavy, melodic assaults, that transcends the traditional limits of the genre, these great northern Norwegians, are taking their influences of death metal, thrash, deathcore, rock and even elements of Jazz to unleash to the world their debut album Depravity due out via DeadPop Records on May 22, 2020.

With songs like ‘Swan Song’ showing off their deathcore influences, to the epic ‘Dissolution’ jumping from death metal to jazz to black metal seamlessly, and tracks like ‘Pale Tongue’ transforming from in your face death metal to a beautiful ambient soundscape, Féleth is a band that is ready to rise to the occasion and leap into the international moshpit.

The album was mixed and mastered by death metal legend, Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy, Shadow of Intent, The Agonist, Beyond Creation) at The Grid Productions. The album also features guest vocals from hometown hero, singer / songwriter Petter Carlsen.

Lyrically the album pulls away from traditional death metal tropes, to also criticize capitalism, pollution, fake news and the depravity of humanity at large. Musically, the full length features beautiful melodic leads, heavy chugging guitars, bass solo’s, fast intricate drum work and the huge vocal range from the lead vocalist, Espen Dagenborg.


Lungbutter: "Veneer"
(via Rarely Unable / Constellation / YouTube)

Via Rarely Unable:



While Lungbutter sadly had to cancel their first EU/UK tour in support of Honey – which would've otherwise been hitting its halfway point right around now – they're turning their frowns around and are excited to be sharing a wild new video for album track "Veneer" by Montréal animator Jordan Minkoff.

The song opens with over three minutes of stinging guitar squall that soundtracks an alien desert landscape, filled with mutant creatures, visited by spinning objects, leading to surreal cataclysms of portentous birthings and transformations, as the song crashes into full gear just before the four-minute mark. Perfect song for a video – and a perfect video for it.

Photo: Thomas Boucher
Montréal trio Lungbutter serves up an exhilarating and relentless barrage of astringent noise-punk driven by the ferociously wide-screen tri-amped guitar squall of Kaity Zozula, the brawny pummel of Joni Sadler's drums, and the wry subliminal/phenomenological sing-speak of vocalist Ky Brooks. Brooks, Sadler and Zozula have all been mainstays of the vibrant experimental noise/rock community in the city for several years, having put in time as members of numerous bands including Femmaggots, Harsh Reality, Caymans, Nennen, Wreckage With Stick and Nag – as well as the Misery Loves Company tape label, La Plante collective, and the campus/community radio station CKUT. Lungbutter has been their main jam for a while, playing frequently in Montréal and with sporadic excursions to DIY spaces around eastern North America.

Honey is their first full-length album, following the self-released Extractor cassette EP from 2014, which Big Takeover described as “thick neanderthal sludge, stream of consciousness yelps over lawnmower riffs, a dweeb-metal triumph” and Weird Canada praised as “confident, artful, intense”. Lungbutter’s minimal guitar-drums-voice configuration is rooted in a visceral, ascetic punk idiom, refracted variously by free-noise, sludge rock and slowcore. Zozula marshals chaotic motifs of full-spectrum distorto-guitar, occupying a huge tonal space from low-end bass to paint-peeling treble, redolent of blown-out Melvins/Flipper fuzz and equally indebted to the frenetic dissonance of Keiji Haino or Merzbow (as in the thrilling passages of warped noise on “Solar” or “Veneer”). Song structures coalesce around guitar riffs of shifting tempos and the backbone of Sadler’s muscular, deliberate drums, while Brooks’ voice – at once mantric and declarative – deconstructs one brilliant lyrical theme after another, dancing along the knife-edge of dispassionate acerbic examination and wide-eyed cathartic revelation. On Honey, live favourite “Vile” glories in a swampy martial stomp before lifting off into its propulsive, danceable stride. The slow burn of “Intrinsic” finds a doomy three-note pattern of guitar crud and slow, caustic vocal lines to build thick tension, careening towards explosive release punctuated by Brooks’ most impassioned and full-throated shouts. “Honey” and “Veneer” are both marked by guitar intros highlighting Zozula’s marvelously biting tone and technique, with buzzsaw static and freeform noise workouts prefacing the lurch into pounding primeval beats, the likes of which also drive standout tracks “Solar”, “Flat White” and “Dépanneur Sun”. Honey is 33 minutes of satisfyingly searing, sharp-as-tacks, scum-tainted art-rock from one of the city's finest and most uncompromising bands.



Vile Creature: "You Who Has Never Slept"
(via Us-Them Group / Prosthetic Records / Metal Injection / Bandcamp)

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Via Us/Them Group:

Vile Creature announce new album, share first track

Hamilton, ON experimental doom duo join Prosthetic Records roster with brutal new album 

FFO: Lingua Ignota, early SWANS

Doom metal experimentalists VILE CREATURE share the video for the first single from their upcoming new album, Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm! The five track album will be their first full length studio album under the Prosthetic Records banner.

Kerrang! recently launched the single audio HERE. Hear and share "You Who Has Never Slept" via SmartURL and Bandcamp.

Vic (they/them) - vocals, drums
KW(he/they) - vocals, guitar, drums, percussion

About the video, the band says:
"Raissa & Dave are two wonderful people we met working our food truck, they knew we played music and offered to help us with a music video one day. Fast forward a few years and we were finally able to take them up on their generous offer. We rented out a theatre in small town Ontario for a day with a bunch of friends, and crafted this vision for the song. All of it was held together by the amazing work of Anita who starred in & choreographed the video. We were inspired by psychological & abstract horror films, most obviously Suspiria. We wanted to craft a linear narrative that still kept you wondering and interested - our songs are long enough that any music video is a really short film."

"'You Who Has Never Slept' comes from a place of frustration," the band says in a statement. "The culmination of years of letting emotions like apathy dictate how you interact with the world and finally striking back with everything you can muster. Musically it is the most versatile song we've ever done, both in tone and pacing. It incorporates elements found throughout the album, while standing out on its own. We are excited it is the first song people get to hear."

VILE CREATURE has been constantly evolving during their six years as a band; from each release to the next, the Hamilton, Ontario duo have been pushing the boundaries of their own creativity, and testing the limits of their own place in the world. Nowhere is this more evident than on their latest experimental doom metal album, Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm! VILE CREATURE are digging their heels in, ready to fight against the all too easy slide into nihilism -- as embodied in the sardonic album title.

Opener, "Harbinger of Nothing" (which first emerged on an Adult Swim compilation in 2019 and was re-recorded for the album) provides a jumping off point for a record that traverses myriad raw, real life experiences and marks a distinct new chapter for the band. The album features contributions from vocalist Laurel Minnes and her choir, Minuscule, and additional instrumentation from Bismuth's Tanya Byrne. VILE CREATURE remains embedded in the oppressive sounds of doom and metal, only now they are covered with a luxurious veil of majestic embellishments.

Recording took place in February, 2020 at Boxcar Sound Recording in Hamilton, Ontario, with Adam Tucker once again in the producer's chair. With Vic's evocative and primal vocals often taking centre stage, their marked growth in confidence as a performer is evident. By collaborating with photographer, Danika Zandboer, the trio have fashioned a striking visual accompaniment -- manifesting the psychedelic and theatrical influences that become present in both audio and visual form.

Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm! will be available on LP, CD and digital on June 19th, 2020 via Prosthetic Records. Pre-orders are available HERE.

Artist: Vile Creature
Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
Release Date: June 19th, 2020

01. Harbinger of Nothing
02. When The Path Is Unclear
03. You Who Has Never Slept04. Glory! Glory!
05. Apathy Took Helm!

On The Web:


Sis: "Fingerpaint"
(via Force Field PR / Native Cat / Soundcloud)

Via Force Field PR:

Sis shares new single "Fingerpaint"

STREAM: "Fingerpaint" - SoundCloud / Spotify

Today, Sis has shared a brand new single titled "Fingerpaint." Gas Station Roses, Sis’s second full-length album, was released in September of 2019 and is the Berkeley-based band’s devotional document of six months spent in the dream zone of the studio. Lovingly made, with earthen percussive elements, chance technique, inside a glimmering forest full of synths and guitars, the album reunited Sis for their most assertive musical statement yet. Stereogum called the LP “gentle, gauzily pretty.”

It all started with a visit to Lark in the Morning, a legendary store full of percussion instruments in Berkeley. The band left with a gopichand, a one-stringed lute from Bangladesh, a huge African drum, and pan flutes. Meanwhile, singer and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Gillespie Mason, also the founder of Native Cat Recordings (Meernaa, John Vanderslice, Luke Temple, Brijean) was writing at home on an OP-1 synth and tenor guitar, and readying her sketches to bring to co-collaborators and husband and wife team Carly Bond (electric guitar, flutes, vocals) and Rob Shelton (synths, programming), both of the band Meernaa.

Originally envisioning a quieter acoustic album to complement the darkly swooning r ‘n b of their debut album Euphorbia (Native Cat Recordings 2018), once in the studio, the band started playing each other songs by other artists before getting to work on anything, such as “Shadows from Nowhere” by the obscure dream-pop 80s band Blue Gas, the feminist and funky album Raw Like Sushi by Neneh Cherry, and the anthemic weirdness of Toto. It seemed, rather than head towards quietude, the band was keen on recreating the dramatic, layered beauty, the dance-ready and big moments of 80s-era recordings. Unabashedly drawing from the well of that musical era’s emotional yet funky potency, you can hear Blue Nile, Grace Jones, Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel in the elegantly shifting soundscapes of the album.

A longtime solo artist, Mason did not intend to form a band. When she stepped into the studio with Bond and Shelton in 2017, who, by chance assignment, were her engineers for a solo project at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco, she had no idea where the session would take her. Being a mother to a toddler and a baby at that point, Mason was unsure if she could fit music into her life again. But with Bond and Shelton, the recording process was so fun and unpredictable, and the undeniable lure of creating music together so strong, that any fear of balancing art with the raising of children was stamped out. The trio emerged from the studio a few months later as bandmates and co-producers, having completed their debut album, Euphorbia (Native Cat Recordings 2018).

Gas Station Roses’ songs travel through varying emotional states just like one going through one’s own life, but each song is marked by hopeful tenderness. There’s the grungy lust-driven rock of “Weathered Romeo,” the plaintive Japanese pop-influenced ballad to a suffering partner, “Moon at the Peak,” the Afropop-tinged “Automatic Woman” with its message of defiance against misogyny, and the robust compassion of the final song, “Human Poses,” in which Mason sings “they’re roughin’ heaven up…turn it all off, I”m gonna turn it all off.” Going into the studio during a turbulent time on the Earth, turning it all off, gave Mason a therapeutic way to understand and cope with all that was happening politically, while trying to offer something beautiful back to the world. In her words, Gas Station Roses is about “desiring life so badly still as a grown-up, getting the joy and beauty in big gulps, but also recognizing its limitations, corruptions, and sadness, more than I ever would as a child. And in the face of that, choosing to smile and stay awake to the beauty around us.”

(Native Cat)
Street Date: April 24, 2020



The Soft Pink Truth: "We"
(via Thrill Jockey / YouTube)

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Via Thrill Jockey:

The Soft Pink Truth (Drew Daniel of Matmos) shares the hypnagogic new video for "We": https://youtu.be/0HZAQVaJuac

New album Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase? out digitally May 1st, LP and CD in stores June 19th

Ahead of the release of new album Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase? this Friday, The Soft Pink Truth, aka Drew Daniel, has shared the hypnagogic new video for "We". Created by Daniel's collaborator in Matmos and partner in life M.C. Schmidt as well as SUE-C, the video perfectly captures the piece's ecstatic energy, mirroring its sublime textures and minimal rhythms with kaleidoscopic visuals.

On Shall We Go On Sinning So That Grace May Increase?, Daniel takes his music under the Soft Pink Truth moniker in a bold and surprising new direction. Written as an emotional response to the creeping rise of fascism around the globe, Daniel looking to creativity and community for psychic healing. What started as a solo endeavour quickly evolved into a promiscuous and communal undertaking, Daniel soliciting contributions from a host of friends and collaborators including Colin Self, Sarah Hennies and Andrew Bernstein (Horse Lords). The resulting music occupies a hypnagogic and ecstatic space somewhere between deep dance music and classical minimalism, its melodies, jubilance, and meditative nature of album providing a much-needed escape from the contemporary hell-scape.


Alizarin: "Elegy Simulacra"
(via Asher Media Relations / Metal Insider / YouTube)

Via Asher Media Relations:

Cinematic rock metallers Alizarin announce they will be releasing their sophomore album The Last Semblance this coming July and are excited to share the full length's artwork plus track listing along with the premiere of lead single 'Elegy Simulacra'. The nearly 8-minute epic prog track is described by the band as "one of the fastest tunes on the album. It's energetic, urgent, and driven by a persistent hypnotic riff. By the time the tune is complete the listener will feel they’ve been on one mind-bending journey, fully setting up the rest of the record."

'Elegy Simulacra' can be heard via its premiere on MetalInsider HERE.

Born out of the forward-thinking inclinations of guitarist/vocalist Josh Kay in late 2017, Alizarin is on a mission to explore unconventional rock music. In addition to Kay, the Los Angeles based group consists of Jon Damon on drums, Terran Fernandez on bass guitar, and Avelino Ramirez on keyboard. 

Alizarin released their first full-length album, titled Cast Zenith, in 2018 and is preparing to release their new album The Last Semblance in summer 2020. Unlike their strictly instrumental debut record, this follow up release features prominent vocals throughout. Rich harmonies and baritone resonance from Kay’s voice add a new dimension to the music, allowing the band’s sound to expand to truly uncharted territory. 

The Last Semblance covers a wide spectrum of sonic landscapes and emphasizes the melodic journey over deliberate technique. Although Kay is the chief songwriter of Alizarin, the compositions on the new record focus on a balance of each instrument, with less of an emphasis on the domination of guitar solos and a greater exploration of what each musician is capable of. The album draws influence from such groups as Porcupine Tree, Haken, Alice in Chains, Opeth, Portishead, and many more. The results are a sound that is challenging to define, pensive, and often at the crossroads of melody and dissonance. 

Kay adds:

"The album is a work of cinematic progressive metal, centered around brooding melodies and wrapped in epic compositions. There are influences from many styles of music, many beyond metal as well. The music is very melody-driven, with technical aspects in moderation woven into the larger song structures. The chords, melodies, and arrangements are meant to be unpredictable, unconventional and compelling, while remaining extremely listenable and catchy."

Album pre-order HERE along with an immediate download of 'Elegy Simulacra' plus their previous release Cast Zenith available on Spotify and iTunes.

Track Listing:
1. Elegy Simulacra (7:55)
2. Fathom (6:53)
3. A Wreath of Temperance (6:40)
4. Velvet Margin (5:12)
5. Heirloom (5:35)
6. Zero Sum (7:03)
7. Attenuation (10:36)
8. The Ivory Silo (8:48)
Album Length: 58:46

Album Credits:
• All songs performed by: Alizarin
• All songs written by: Josh Kay
• Produced by: Josh Kay and Alizarin
• Mixed by: Josh Kay
• Mastered by: Jamie King
• Album Artwork by: Josh Kay

Album and Live Band Line Up:
Josh Kay – Guitars and vocals
Jon Damon – Drums
Terran Fernandez – Bass and backing vocals
Avelino Ramirez – Keyboards

For more info:


Chip Wickham: "Double Cross"
(via Clandestine Label Services / Lovemonk / YouTube)

Album Preorder

Chip Wickham Releases Rushing New Single "Double Cross"

The Flautist/Saxophonist's "cosmically-charged" New Album
Blue To Red is Out May 8th via Lovemonk Records

STREAM: "Double Cross"

"...his most absorbing and cosmically-charged offering to date." - Jazziz Magazine

RIYL: Alice Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, Sons of Kemet
Genre: Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Rare Groove, Soul

Flautist and saxophonist, Chip Wickham returns with Blue to Red, his most absorbing and cosmically-charged offering to date. Soaring flute melodies, lush harp arpeggios and glistening Rhodes keys interact across six journeying, spiritual jazz compositions, leaning on a rich palette of sounds beyond borders, space and time.

Channeling the spirit of Alice Coltrane and Yusef Lateef via the lens of a hip-hop, electronic and club music educated ear,
Blue to Red encompasses Wickham’s disparate set of production influences with his Manchester and spiritual jazz education.

The album not only seeks to forewarn Earth’s possible Mars-like future, but seeks to tap into the interplanetary, cosmic nature of music.
“It’s a culture crisis rather than a climate crisis, one that can only be solved if we go right to the core of how we live as human beings”.

Born and raised in Brighton, UK, Wickham moved to Manchester to attend college. He soon moved into music going on to perform and record with a formidable and diverse list of artists from his Manchester base including Nightmares on Wax and Andy Votel as well as regular funk excursions with The New Mastersounds. However it was upon his meeting of Mancunian trumpeter/bandleader of Gondwana Orchestra, Matthew Halsall, and other influential players connected to the Manchester’s spiritual jazz circuit such as Nat Birchall that Wickham’s musical course was re-routed for good.

Leaving the UK for Madrid in 2007, Wickham set out on his Iberian-facing debut a decade later with La Sombra (2017), before moving again from Madrid to Doha (Qatar), where Wickham released his follow up Shamal Wind (2018), a lively and international melding of modal jazz, Arabic sounds and other disparate sonic territories, that blends Wickham’s penchant for ethereal, beatless composition and Dingwalls-esque, jazz dance numbers.

Having recorded, produced and mixed everything himself, Wickham’s meticulous approach to production and unswerving ambition for Blue to Red, led him to a phenomenal group of musicians across the UK’s thriving jazz scene, including Sons of Kemet and Mulatu Astatke drummer, Jon Scott, Fingathing head honcho, Simon ‘Sneaky’ Houghton (double bass/cello) and Nightmares On Wax affiliate Dan ‘JD 73’ Goldman (keys). Making up the lineup is Gondwana Orchestra alumni Amanda Whiting, whose celestial and mystical harp playing is a particularly prominent and enchanting feature of the record.

With his group (that will feature British jazz pillar, Greg Foat on keys), Wickham will be embarking on a tour across the UK and Europe this April with headline dates at London’s Ronnie Scott’s and Paris’s La Petite Halle. Alongside playing with Dwight Tribble, Allysha Joy (30/70), The Sorcerers, Scrimshire and Joe Tatton (The New Mastersounds), Chip's previous and recent live endeavours saw him perform at the mainstage of Love Supreme last year and he continues to tour the world with Halsall and The Gondwana Orchestra.

Whilst we pray Wickham’s prediction that the planet’s decline from Blue to Red is proven incorrect, it’s hard to imagine a time in the future where pieces of music do not represent markers of our own personal growth or catalysts for structural, societal change. The vanguard of spiritual jazz past and present are no stranger to this, and on Blue to Red, Wickham not only salutes but earnestly contributes to this legacy.
Chip Wickham - Blue To Red
May 8th - Lovemonk Records

Pre-order: https://chipwickham.bandcamp.com/album/blue-to-red

1. Blue to Red
2. Route One
3. Interstellar
4. The Cosmos
5. Double Cross
6. Mighty Yousef

Chip Wickham, Flute and Sax
Jon Scott, Fingathing, Drums
Simon ‘Sneaky’ Houghton, Double Bass and Cello
Dan ‘JD 73’ Goldman, Keys
Amanda Whiting, Harp
Rick Weedon, Percussion

All songs written and arranged by Chip Wickham
Recorded at Big Noise Studios in Essex
Recording Engineer: Simon ‘Stingray’ Davies
Mastering: Pete Maher
Mixed & Produced: Chip Wickham


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Desire: "War Dance"
(via Stereo Sanctity / Italians Do It Better / YouTube)

Via Stereo Sanctity:

- Share new single & video "Black Latex"
- New album 'Escape' due later this year via Italians Do It Better 

Desire share a Warhol inspired video portrait for "Black Latex". Their new album Escape is out this summer via Italians Do It Better. Megan Louise narrates the film, alternating between her native French & English over the cinematic score. From vixen to villain, our heroine turns predator. With blood pumping thrill...the black widow spins her web. The video was directed by Johnny Jewel.

Desire Facebook
Desire Twitter
Italians Do It Better website
Italians Do It Better Twitter

Beauty Pill: "The Damnedest Thing"

(via Clandestine PR / Northern Spy Records / Afropunk / YouTube)

Album Preorder

Via Clandestine PR:

Beauty Pill Debuts "The Damnedest Thing" Video via Afropunk

Second Single From Upcoming Release Please Advise Out May 8th via Northern Spy

Genres: indie, electronic, art-rock, hyper-pop, post-punk, experimental

RIYL: Beck, Blonde Redhead, Destroyer, Dismemberment Plan, Prince, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Stereolab, TV On The Radio

"Even when someone else sings, you know it's a Beauty Pill song. Chad Clark's turns of phrase are irregular, yet immediately memorable; his lyrical cadence is clever, yet homey and even funny. Post-Describes Things As The Are, Clark's densely textured music has caught up to his wordplay." –NPR's All Songs Considered, Viking's Choice

Beauty Pill today shared their video for "The Damnedest Thing," the second single from the Washington D.C. band's forthcoming release
Please Advise, out May 8th via Northern Spy Records. The Drew Doucette-directed music video (which the band calls a "textfilm") premiered today via Afropunk who hail the new song as "a masterpiece."

Of the concept, band leader Chad Clark explains, "The video presents the (phantasmagoric) lyrics alongside the (ludic, dry) commentary and requires the viewer to keep up with both. I posit that if we had added visual images onto that, it would have been too much for the brain."

"The Damnedest Thing" follows lead single "Pardon Our Dust" which caught the attention of Spin, Consequence of Sound, NPR's All Songs Considered and more. Please Advise is the band's first new music since 2015’s Describes Things As They Are, an album that earned widespread acclaim including NPR Music's album of the year list and TIME Magazine's 10 best albums of the decade list.

Please Advise will be available on Digital/CD/Cassette/Vinyl, each with distinct artwork (designed by Grammy-winning artist Brian Grunert) and unique bonus track exclusive to that format.

Beauty Pill will be taking questions live on Reddit this Monday, April 27th at 2:00 PM EST. The AMA (Ask Me Anything) will be hosted on subreddit r/music here.

Watch "The Damnedest Thing" Video


Hi, my name’s Chad and this is about my band, Beauty Pill. I’m writing it in first person because fuck it. And I’m gonna skip right to recent history because fuck it.

I got sick and almost died. (I usually just say I am “improbably alive.”) So I was silent for many years.

But in 2015, Beauty Pill released an album called Beauty Pill Describes Things As They Are. We had recorded it as part of a commissioned art experiment in a DC museum called Artisphere. The concept of the exhibit was to allow the public to observe the band recording an album over a 2 week period, one song per day. We didn’t make a “live album” in any orthodox sense — we weren’t playing to the audience. It was more like a musical construction site. We tried to ignore onlookers and focus on the work. All aspects of the creative process were made transparent, including the less glamorous elements: internal arguments, awkward moments, failed performances, ordering pizza, etc. It was an interesting artistic adventure.

I felt good about the resulting album. I did not, however, anticipate the rapturous critical acclaim for the record. We were met with raves pretty much everywhere. TIME Magazine declared it one of the ten best albums of the decade, alongside Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar. And Describes Things As They Are began to outsell all previous Beauty Pill music. The vinyl edition of Describes Things completely sold out.

…Which brings us to now.

When you’re following up a beloved album, it’s tempting to make conservative choices or try to repeat certain formulas. But that's a mistake. All creation is wilderness. That is as it should be.

We named our new record Please Advise. The title was inspired by record producer Teo Macero’s famous/hilarious 1969 memo to Columbia Records about Miles Davis (“Miles just called and said he wants this album to be titled: BITCHES BREW. Please advise.”). It’s funny to us now, but I bet it wasn’t funny to Teo then.

What I love about that memo is the insight that even in moments of majestic creative breakthrough, there is uncertainty. Abject uncertainty. Nobody really knows anything. You can only follow where your instincts lead.

For Please Advise, we’re continuing to experiment with the orchestral colorations introduced on the last album. We added a horn quartet to the band, a feature you can hear plainly in the song “Pardon Our Dust.” And Erin Nelson, wife of Ryan Nelson (ex-Beauty Pill drummer), has joined the band as singer. Erin is a daring and stylish woman (she stars in the “Pardon Our Dust” video) and she’s brought a new vitality and confidence to the band.

And it’s true I feel more secure in my sensibility now, after the reception to the last album. I’m human. It’s nice to be liked.

I no longer feel nervous when people tell me Beauty Pill doesn’t have a genre. (Is this rock music? Is this electronic music? And what’s up with the classical and jazz sounds?…)

Beauty Pill does have a genre. Beauty Pill is in the Beauty Pill genre.

Chad Clark
Washington, DC

Letters From A Tapehead


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