Ahead of its release next week, DiS is very proud to present a stream of The Sea and Cake's 10th - by our reckoning, anyway - studio album, plus a track-by-track guide to the record by Sam Prekop.
The Sea and Cake have inspired so many of the bands that DiS loves, and it seems baffling when their name appears on threads on DiS about 'little known acts everyone should know, but doesn't'. Since 1994, they've perfected their blend of cinematic textures (well, some of them are also in Tortoise) and warm gusts of the sort of summer sun you find bleaching the outer reaches of The Shins finest moments.
When you dig a little deeper with this band, It's hardly surprising to discover that this collection of professional musicians have worked with everyone from Jim O' Rourke to Jandek. John McEntire is also an in-demand producer after having a hand in albums for Broken Social Scene, Bright Eyes, Smog, Coldcut, Fiery Furnaces, and many, many more. Then there's Archer Prewitt's extra circular activity doing cartoons for McSweeney's. So the chances are, your world may very well have been touched by the Sea and Cake, without you even realising it.
Runner follows on from the bands expansive electronic experiment The Moonlight Butterfly, but finds the band returning to the duskier sound of Qui and The Fawn. If this is your first time hearing them, welcome, if you're already a fan, welcome back...
Album Stream NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Sadly this was only up for one week. Here's a sample track from the album:
Pre-order your copy of the album via the Thrill Jockey website - and have a look around and you'll find more about he labels 20th Anniversary celebrations, including various shows stateside and lots of re-issues.
Track by track guide to Runner
on and on
The last piece written for the record, so naturally the lead track, which also came together quickly, always a good sign. sort of harking back to an earlier era of ours, but also looking elsewhere. Very wobbly loud guitars trying to focus, it also contains the highest note I've ever sung, and I'm a bit concerned about hitting it live!
A rare working title that's become the title, the reference is arps as in arpeggiators, which is how this track started. The vocal melody was found on guitar which has a pretty morricone esque, quality, a favorite of ours, who I haven't thought about enough lately.
The first song written for the album. quite an intricate arrangement, which proved a bit difficult to settle on, but in the end I'm quite happy with, Archer's pseudo Hawaiian string arrangement for the ending is a real highlight for me. I was hearing a particular Neil Young like twang with some of the singing, however I might be the only one who hears that twang.
A sort of wind swept incantation, over satie like chords spread out on synthesizer at a seemingly glacial pace that leads to a field recording of a children's playground with echoes. The band shows up to play through out the day. A short film.
A more manic cousin of 'Up on the North Shore' from The Moonlight Butterfly, our last record. We really put this one through the ringer, pushed and pulled apart several times. Still a song, a lament about memory.
Played on a borrowed guitar, one of maybe two Sea and Cake songs that are primarily acoustic. I was hoping to write a song my little kids would like, celebrating the wide eyed adventures that i hope everyday brings to them.
I like music where it's hard to predict what should come next, somehow the discrete parts foreshadow the turns while giving nothing away, I'm especially fond of the cracked modular synth solo in the outro, a just let it run kinda thing, sometimes you get lucky.
Neighbors and Township
Three songs in one composition, forced to make sense somehow. we put my vocals in the third section through an odd harmonizer effect, which made it sound somehow much more melancholic and fragile than anticipated. Also we were quite happy that this song doesn't fade out.
I approached this one as an almost A capella song, even though there's plenty of instrumentation, the structure was so linear and the chords so prickly and rhythmic rather than melodic it really felt wide open. Not quite knowing how I'm doing what vocally, led to some pretty interesting harmonies and odd intervals, technique i hadn't touched on before. I'd say one of my favorites from the record.
This song was based around a droning synth chord with subtle pulse and staticy noise up high, always moving. Eric's bass line nicely counteracts the lulling guitars. While John's cymbals sound terrifically heavy and elastic. It was impossible to resist having this song as the final piece on the record.