The ARCS – ” Electrophonic Chronic “

Posted: February 5, 2023 in MUSIC

Over the past decade, numerous supergroups have risen to the forefront of contemporary music. They’re all beloved heat seekers with unfathomable chemistry, however, the one supergroup I think about most often is The Arcs. Started by Dan Auerbach, Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, and Richard Swift in the early 2010s, the band quickly embodied a perfect mixture of neo-psychedelia and soul. They weren’t out to capitalize on popularity with sold-out shows in big venues. They played lowkey gigs in landmark clubs across America, like The Orange Peel in Asheville and the Civic Theatre in Auerbach’s hometown of Akron.

‘Electrophonic Chronic’ is the second album from The Arcs, the band founded by The Black Keys Dan Auerbach and which released its debut studio album ‘Yours, Dreamily’ back in 2015. Eight years later – and following the death of one of its members, Richard Swift – a successor has been shaped out of left-over recordings from the same sessions that yielded that debut.

Around 2012, Auerbach wanted to make a follow-up to his debut solo record “Keep It Hid”. He’d just put out the Black Keys records “Brothers” and “El Camino” back-to-back, and both Michels and Movshon had joined him and Pat Carney on tour in 2010. Whatever Auerbach’s second personal project would become, he was going to surround himself with musicians he trusted. “As soon as it was me, Dan, Nick, and Homer, we did a lot of recording sessions together, just for the hell of it, and there wasn’t anything attached to it,” Michels recalls. “Then, when Swift got involved, that’s when it really felt like, ‘OK, this is a band.’ It became clear very quickly that it was its own thing.”

Auerbach’s second solo record wouldn’t come until 2017, and “Waiting on a Song” was lightyears away from what he had made with The Arcs: songs torn from the cuffs of Captain Beefheart’s Safe as Milk and the hip-hop that inspired The Black Keys’ 2009 rap project “BlakRoc”. The Arcs were making music that became unique in how so many familiar parts stacked on top of each other to make a singular sound, which came from the guys spending countless days together just laying down whatever sounds came out of their instruments. 

The Arcs are special because every member of the group is a producer—or, as Michels affectionately calls everyone, “studio rats”—which has only widened their musical capabilities in the studio. Songs on their debut like “Outta My Mind,” “Velvet Ditch,” and “Pistol Made of Bones” may have fragments that fit on a Black Keys project like “El Camino” or “Turn Blue“, but it’s clear that The Arcs’ songs were gleaned by each member equally. Their second album, “Electrophonic Chronic“, is just as psychedelic as “Yours, Dreamily” was, except it’s much more harmonious and electronic. 

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