with Drab Majesty and Uniform
We are proud to finally share with you the Deafheaven album, New Bermuda, which is out worldwide today on Anti-. This is the third full-length album from the California quintet and their first on the label.
George Clarke (vocals), Kerry McCoy (guitar), Dan Tracy (drums), Stephen Lee Clark (bass), and Shiv Mehra (guitar) recorded New Bermuda live to tape at 25th Street Recording in Oakland, CA and Atomic Garden Recording in East Palo Alto, CA in April 2015. It was produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Jack Shirley who has worked with the band on their previous releases. Clarke says that he came up with the idea of “New Bermuda” to describe a new destination in life, a nebulous point of arrival, and an unknown future where things get swallowed up and dragged into darkness. The album artwork for New Bermuda is an oil painting, dense in brush strokes of darker tones and deep blues, by Allison Schulnik. The layout was designed by art director Nick Steinhardt.
Formed in 2010 in San Francisco, California, the band has released two studio albums on Deathwish; Roads to Judah in 2011 and their lauded Sunbather in 2013. Sunbather received accolades from NPR on their Favorite Albums of 2013 list, a coveted Best New Music at Pitchfork, the Best Metal Album of 2013 per Rolling Stone, a 9/10 star review from Decibel Magazine, and it was the highest rated album of 2013 according to Metacritic. Deafheaven have spent the last two years touring extensively nationally and around the world with shows in Australia, Japan, Asia, Europe, Russia, the UK, and Canada with festival appearances at Pitchfork, Bonnaroo, Primavera, Roskilde, Fun Fun Fun, FYF Fest, SXSW, Basilica Sound Scape 14, Corona Capital, ATP Iceland, amongst others. Deafheaven will perform August 8 at Heavy Montreal in Canada. Details on a forthcoming North American tour are soon to be announced.
Drab Majesty began as a warbled transmission received via 4-track cassette in a dim, Los Angeles bedroom in 2012. The entity known as Deb Demure, an interdimensional muse of sorts, lent an otherworldly vision to a human contact; one to be realized through meticulously composed lo-fi recordings. Focusing on the aesthetics of cult ritual and the devastating power of music, Deb sought an alternative way to share the cosmic agenda. Culminating in a cassette titled Unarian Dances, Drab Majesty’s manifesto to humanity was revealed: revel in the power of artistic influences that reside beyond the self.
The tape circulated through Los Angeles, catching the attention of local tastemakers like the heads at Lollipop Records in Echo Park. It quickly found a place on the shelves of LA’s underground musical seekers. After a gauntlet of performances and late night manifestations, Drab Majesty came on the radar of DAIS Records.
In 2015, Drab Majesty released Careless, the first LP which was received and recorded soley by Demure on living room floors and in cluttered spaces across the city. After three pressings and an imminent fourth, Careless remains a fixture in LA’s somber yet sublime nightlife and a noted contribution to the murkier subcultures abroad.
Wielding a left-handed guitar, Deb employs a unique style of arpeggiated finger picking, producing vast and organic musical textures reminiscent of Vinny Reilly (Durutti Column) with the anthemic power of Sisters of Mercy and Cocteau Twins. In the past two years Deb has been invited to support bands such as Psychic TV, Clan of Xymox, The Frozen Autumn, Prayers, and label mates Youth Code and King Dude.
From its incarnation, Drab Majesty was a solo act; an interplay between guitar and triggered machines. In 2016, with growing audiences and heightened interest, Drab expanded into a duo, employing the keyboard accompaniment of far-out twin, Mona D – filling out frequencies and upping the spectacle of the live performance.
January of 2017 saw the release of Deb’s second album entitled The Demonstration, recorded by Josh Eustis (NIN, Telefon Tel Aviv). With extensive worldwide touring to follow, Drab Majesty will spread its message to new and grander audiences around the globe.
Uniform formed in New York City in late 2013 when old friends Ben Greenberg (Hubble, The Men, Pygymy Shrews) and Michael Berdan (York Factory Complaint, Drunkdriver, Believer/Law) realized they lived on the same street. Their impulsive collaboration quickly yielded Our Blood / Of Sound Mind and Body single. The six tracks that comprise the equally abrasive but more refined Perfect World have been coming together between tours and work ever since.
The music that Greenberg and Berdan conjure up under the Uniform moniker is immediate, aggressive, and even primal in form, but it plumbs untold depths. Berdan’s venomous voice mines deeply personal themes of resentment, regret, reflection and addiction over the hum of Greenberg’s almost impossibly disciplined guitar, bass synth, and drum machine lines. Greenberg uses the word “templatized” to describe their approach to writing songs for Uniform.
“There’s this set bunch of gear to create sounds, and it only creates sound through a certain process, or within its own limitations,” Greenberg said. “The goal of songwriting is to see how many different kinds of sounds you can get from the same basic process and machine.”
On Perfect World, that machine is firing on all cylinders. The guitar is run through a cheap ’80s preamp marketed to metal kids. The drum machine is equally no-frills, an Akai XR20 that Greenberg says “most people wouldn’t want to keep around.” These humble components are combined with noisy synth and Berdan’s profound howling to form something much greater. Post-punk, synthpunk, and industrial traditions are borrowed from as needed, but the constraints placed on the process mean the result is unique to Uniform. Berdan describes his lyrics as the consequence of feeling “so full of pain, confusion, deep selfishness, and general animosity that you make some horrible mistakes and have to learn how to forgive yourself for them.” Perfect World feels like the sum of all that pain and confusion, but it also feels like the catharsis.