Posts Tagged ‘La Luz’

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Though she conjures up an electrical storm of rockstar fireworks with her main gig, La Luz, Shana Cleveland settles into a more contemplative mode on solo LP “Night of the Worm Moon”. A mellow set of sci-fi lullabies written on acoustic guitar rank, the songs on Night rank among the most haunted recordings of Cleveland’s career. “Fingerpicking feels more meditative to me so I go to a more introspective place lyrically and thematically when I play acoustic guitar,” Cleveland said in an interview about “Night of the Worm Moon”, and certainly her fingerpicked patterns create a gentle rhythmic flow that becomes nearly ambient in its soothing tones and pensive unfurling. But what anchors Night isn’t just Cleveland’s accomplished musicianship, but how she expertly excavates wisdom from weirdness on songs that toe the line between what is real and what seems half-remembered from a dream. “Nothing’s the loudest sound in a house when no one’s around,” Cleveland sings on the title track, a truly spooky song wherein the artist imagines herself as a constant presence who watches from within the walls. Throughout Night of the Worm Moon, Cleveland uses the potent power of such psychedelic signifiers to illuminate bright emotional truths in a darkening world that will probably never make sense again.

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what an exceptional collection of transcendental lullabies.  Night of the Worm Moon was recorded during a rare cosmic occurrence: 2017’s solar eclipse. “We took a break from recording during [the] totality and looked at the sun’s image through a piece of cardboard projecting onto a garbage can,” Cleveland says. “When we came back inside the studio was covered in dozens of tiny crescent suns, refracted from a mirrored disco ball that [engineer Johnny Goss] had hanging in a window.” Abetting Cleveland during the recording process was a familiar gallery of co-conspirators: multi-instrumentalist Will Sprott of Shannon & the Clams, original La Luz bassist Abbey Blackwell, Goss, pedal steel player Olie Eshelman, and Kristian Garrard, who drummed on Cleveland’s previous solo effort (with then-backing band The Sandcastles), 2011’s Oh Man, Cover the Ground.

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Shana Cleveland has long been beguiling listeners as the front-woman for elastic surf rockers La Luz. Inspired in part by one of her musical idols, the Afro-futurist visionary Sun Ra (the album’s title is a tip of the hat to his 1970 release Night of the Purple Moon), Night of the Worm Moon blends pastoral folk with cosmic concerns, including alternate realities to divine celestial bodies. Cleveland first came up through the Seattle music scene as the front woman of surf-rock quartet La Luz. This isn’t her first solo project, but so far, it feels like her most daring. She concocted Night of the Worm Moon while living in Los Angeles,

Shana Cleveland will be hitting the road in support of the new solo record on April 5th, headlining in the west and supporting the Mountain Goats in the east!! These’ll be real special spacey sets and I can’t wait to share this record with y’all!

“Night of the Worm Moon” is the title track from the new solo album by La Luz’s Shana Cleveland, out 4/5/19

La Luz is a band in Seattle, WA, started in the summer of 2012 by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Alice Sandahl (keyboard) and Lena Simon (bass). Everyone sings. Songs by Shana and La Luz.

La Luz just might be the greatest rock band in the world. It’s OK if you didn’t know. Since achieving instant hype on the strength of their pretty garage pop songs and haunted girl group vocals floating around guitarist Shana Cleveland’s glow-in-the-dark surf guitar lines, La Luz’s music has possessed an effortless ear candy quality that makes it easy to overlook—if not outright dismiss. But La Luz have always been stealth rock-‘n’-rollers with a taste for the raw; their discography reveals a band gradually ramping up the intensity of their sound while cloaking its creeping menace in soft clouds of four-part harmonies that soothe.

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With the epic Floating Features, La Luz’s slow burn reaches a boiling point, leaving no doubt that the quartet—Cleveland, bassist Lena Simon, organist Alice Sandahl, and drummer Marian Li-Pino—are among the most imaginative, dynamic rock bands currently active. Always technically impeccable, Floating Features is a showcase for the band’s deeply empathetic musical chemistry, embodied in moments of impassioned musicianship delivered with all of the confidence and none of the cockiness commonly associated with rock star moments. And there are a few of them here. Floating Features is a record rife with moments that thrill, from Cleveland’s fearless, heartbreaking guitar solos, her most powerful passages often preceded by howls emanating from somewhere just deep within the sound, to the angelic, enveloping atmospherics of “Mean Dream,” to stunning centerpiece “California Finally,” a song so rhythmically complex it seems to follow its own dream logic; the chorus of “I do what I want” tumbles into echolalia as Cleveland plays catch-up with Li-Pino’s off-kilter beats. A record of luminous beauty and subtle majesty, Floating Featuresis a portrait of a rock band playing at the peak of their powers, La Luz’s very own Houses of the Holy remade in their own heavenly image.

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A Seattle by way of Los Angeles four-piece who drag the sounds of 60s girl bands and classic surf rock into a sun-kissed Californian present. Exuding effortless cool, La Luz take the lazy, endless summer mood of Los Angeles at sunset, and essay on it through driving rhythms, honeycombed vocal harmonies, and breezy surf and garage rock guitar figures straight out of the Takeshi Terauchi playbook. On Floating Features, the four-piece write rich, vivid, and impressionistic studies of life viewed through the surreal, hallucinogenic haze of the city of angels, earning their spot in the Californian sun. La Luz hasn’t made one single weak song- everything they do rips. This new album just continues their unbeaten streak.

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With comparisons to Mild High Club, The Shangri-Las, Dum Dum Girls La Luz started in the summer of 2012 by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Alice Sandahl (keyboard) and Lena Simon (bass).

La Luz

Ever since they first appeared in 2012 with their lush combination of moody surf guitar and luminous girl group harmonies, La Luz have pushed the expressive possibilities of surf into ever more adventurous realms, with songwriting and arrangements that have grown increasingly sophisticated over time. The band’s latest LP, Floating Features, is the most fully-realized version of their sound to date, a record of complex, cerebral rock songs that feel as light and effortless as pop.

Floating Features was recorded in Nashville, and it marked the first time the group had been able to “take full advantage of all the bells and whistles and the toys that were just kind of laying around the studio,” remembers Simon, the group’s resident gearhead. “Harpsichord, orchestra chimes, marimba, all the different pedals. A Leslie speaker, too. We ran different organs through the Leslie with various effects.”

Like the rest of the band’s discography, Floating Features is a record that hinges upon La Luz’s preternatural talent for writing songs that balance the menacing edge of instrumental surf with sunny harmonies, a mix that’s defined the band from the beginning.

presents La Luz performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded March 9th, 2013

Songs:
Big Big Blood
Call Me In The Day
It’s Alive
Sure As Spring

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Dreams are an essential element of Floating Features, which achieves a far more lush, glowing production than La Luz’s previous records, 2015’s Weirdo Shine and 2013’s It’s Alive. “Mean Dream” is breezy indie rock with vivid and bizarre imagery, while “Lonely Dozer” is a spaghetti western-stomper featuring a wayward protagonist who is “alone inside at night.” Shana Cleveland makes impressive use of surrealism in lyrics for songs like “The Creature,” a grim and gorgeous ballad, and “Greed Machine,” which playfully casts the idea of being broke (the eternal musician struggle) as a classic movie villain, constantly lurking around the corner to get you. “Oh no, not again!” Cleveland sighs. “Just when you thought you’d got ahead/ It always finds you where you live.”

Earlier this year, Seattle band La Luz made a solid cassette EP that came out via Burger Records (which included the great track “Sure as Spring”). It was full of surf-tinged garage pop, which is what they offer once again with “Brainwash” (their forthcoming single out July 17 via Suicide Squeeze). The track achieves a more mellow vibe, but that’s not to say the track is devoid of power. Though they apply a soft touch with their “oooh” vocals and paced, minimal intro, they also scream and play their instruments really loud in a few concentrated, raucous bursts. But at the core here is a sweet jangling melody– the perfect thing to support the simple organ solo that comes in just before the outro. Yes, right at the point where most bands pegged with the word “garage” would opt for a blaring guitar solo, La Luz go for something softer and more tonally appropriate.

La Luz is a band in Seattle, WA, started in the summer of 2012 by Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Alice Sandahl (keyboard) and Lena Simon (bass). Everyone sings. Songs by Shana and La Luz.

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Los Angeles has often been described as a “dream factory” both a mecca where dreamers converge to pursue long-held aspirations, and a topography of hallucinogenic contradictions: enchanting tangerine sunsets diffused by smog, crystal-clutching spiritualists mingling with deep-pocketed narcissists, rows of scenic palms competing with garish billboards for commuters’ attention.

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It was against this backdrop that the four members of La Luz–singer/guitarist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marian Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl, and bassist Lena Simon–conceived of Floating Features, the band’s third studio album. For this, their most ambitious release yet, La Luz consulted landscapes both physical and psychological.

Only La Luz could conjure up Floating Features’ Leone-on-LSD vibes, and the album finds the L.A. band at the height of their powers–golden rebels in a golden dream.

“California Finally” is the second single from La Luz’s Floating Features, out May 11th, 2018 on LP,

Band Members
Shana Cleveland – guitar
Marian Li Pino – drums
Alice Sandahl – keyboard
Lena Simon – bass

LA LUZ – ” You Disappear “

Posted: March 28, 2017 in MUSIC
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Back in summer 2015, when the world was brighter, La Luz released their second album, the Ty Segall produced album titled “Weirdo Shrine” It feints in the direction of subversive American darkness,  La Luz head to the beach, where they mine a particularly haunted—though miraculously camp-free—form of surf rock.

It’s a sound that translates well to the woods of Oregon, where the quartet brought their big show to a hidden clearing in the middle of the Pickathon Festival.  La Luz rip through Weirdo Shrine’s “You Disappear,” .

Like previous episodes of the Slab Sessions, “You Disappear” was produced by Half Stop Sessions.

Often referred to as Sub Pop’s “sister label,” Hardly Art is an offshoot of Sub Pop designed to spotlight emerging talent. While the label’s initial focus was local when it started up in 2007, it has since expanded its roster to welcome artists from all over the United States and abroad.

With the goal of cultivating a stable of vital, young, and relatively undiscovered bands, Hardly Art journeyed underground while a booming Sub Pop stayed above the surface (though both operate out of a shared office space in downtown Seattle). Since its inception and immediate worldwide reception as a paradigm-shifting, taste-making powerhouse (wink), Hardly Art has expanded to three full-time employees, broadening its purview along the way to include reissues, EPs, one-off seven inches, and other dubiously profitable ventures. Currently, the label prides itself on having one of the most diverse catalogs of any label its size.

From its inaugural release (Arthur & Yu’s In Camera) to its most recent, Hardly Art has sought to support new bands in need of a wider audience, with a particular emphasis on the rising stars of the garage, punk, and bedroom pop genres. Here below are our top recommendations from this wonderful label.

Happy release day to The Julie Ruin! Hit Reset, their highly-anticipated new record is finally out today on CD, LP, cassette, and digital formats. Next Tuesday, July 12th, The Julie Ruin will perform live on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and the band hits the road in support of Hit Reset starting next Thursday

In late 2014 The Julie Ruin began work on their second album, Hit Reset. Mixed by Eli Crews, Hit Reset expands on the band’s established sound: dancier in spots and moodier in others, with girl group backing vocals and even a touching ballad closer.Hit Reset is the sound of a band who have found their sweet spot. Kathleen Hanna’s vocals are empowered and her lyrics are as pointed and poignant as ever. From the chilling first lines of “Hit Reset” (“Deer hooves hanging on the wall, shell casings in the closet hall”) to the touching lines of “Calverton” (“Without you I might be numb, hiding in my apartment from everyone / Without you I’d take the fifth, or be on my death bed still full of wishes”), Hanna takes a leap into the personal not seen completely on the first album or possibly even in the rest of her work.

Seattle band Tacocat will be capping off their already-incredible 2016 with another nationwide tour this September/October–including a headlining show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg–with even more dates TBA. Head here for a full list of upcoming shows, including next month’s West Coast run with The Regrettes.

The band’s also heralding the arrival of summer weather with a cover version of The Sunray’s 1965 gem “I Live For The Sun,”

The new record from Seattle band Tacocat has your first look at “Dana Katherine Scully,” the group’s new self-made music video for Lost Time’s opening track. The Powerpuff Girls, for which Tacocat performed the theme song Who’s Got the Power?, premieres on Cartoon Network this Monday.

On the tour front, the band recently opened for Senator Bernie Sanders Seattle Campaign rally, to a crowd of thousands. They tour the U.S. and Europe starting in June, and just announced a slew of West Coast and Southwest U.S. dates for this July. See the tour page for a full list of upcoming Tacocat performances, and find copies of Lost Time on all formats (LPs on colored vinyl!)

 

As La Sera, Katy Goodman turned an aching heart into two marvelous, alluring yet bittersweet break-up albums (2011’s self-titled debut and 2012’s Sees the Light). On her latest, though, the former Vivian Girl is through crying. Hour of the Dawn sees Goodman waking up, throwing open the bedroom windows and welcoming the day.

“I wanted the new La Sera record to sound like Lesley Gore fronting Black Flag,” Goodman says. “I didn’t want it to be another record of me sad, alone in my room. I wanted to have fun playing music and writing songs with a band.” To back her nimble bass lines and enchanting vocals, Goodman assembled a new band helmed by guitarist Todd Wisenbaker.

“We started playing faster, louder and more aggressively,” Goodman says. “I wanted to get that energy onto the album.” The forceful new La Sera line-up set about fleshing out Goodman’s melodies and lyrics into strapping rock anthems, debuting them to enthusiastic crowds on tour, and refining them with a newfound obsession to detail.

After a year of perfecting their new material, La Sera was ready to commit it to tape. In the summer of 2013, the group decamped to a sweltering studio in East Los Angeles with engineer Joel Jerome and banged out the ten songs that would become Hour of the Dawn—an album that never walks, but runs, a collision of unleashed punk and ‘80s power-pop.

“We wanted to make a classic American record,” Wisenbaker says. “The album was inspired by a lot of bands: The Pretenders, Minor Threat, X, The Smiths, The Cars and more.”

The sound that emerged from these disparate influences combined hardcore energy with tuneful harmony, as exemplified by opening track “Losing to the Dark.” Title track “Hour of the Dawn,” meanwhile, rides a steady groove towards a long horizon of sunrise. It’s the record’s thematic center: a final wave goodbye to a messy past and the beginning of a new day. In a burst of bright, immediate and jangly Smiths-inspired pop, “Fall in Place” captures La Sera at an emotional and musical crossroads.

Hour of the Dawn, as its title suggests, heralds the beginning of a radiant and energetic new chapter in La Sera’s evolution—the summit of Goodman’s steady ascent to rock and roll queen dom.

As a prospect it can be terrifying, sad, and worst of all, inevitable. But on I Want to Grow Up, her second album for Hardly Art, Colleen Green lets us know that we don’t have to go it alone.

This latest collection of songs follows a newly 30-year-old Green as she carefully navigates a minefield of emotion. Her firm belief in true love is challenged by the inner turmoil caused by entering modern adulthood, but that doesn’t mean that her faith is defeated. With a nod to her heroes, sentimental SoCal punks The Descendents, Green too wonders what it will be like when she gets old. Throughout songs such as “Some People,” “Deeper Than Love,” and the illustrative title track, the listener has no choice but to feel the sympathetic growing pains of revelatory maturation and the anxieties that come along with it.

Sonically the album is a major change for the LA-based songwriter, who has come to be known for her homemade recordings and merchandise. Her past offerings have been purely Green; testaments to her self-sufficiency and, perhaps, trepidation. This time, she’s got a little help from her friends: the full band heard here includes JEFF the Brotherhood’s Jake Orrall and Diarrhea Planet’s Casey Weissbuch, who collaborated with Green over ten days at Sputnik Sound in Nashville, TN.

I Want to Grow Up is an experience, not unlike life: questioning, learning, taking risks. And in true CG fashion, a quote from a beloved 90s film seems the perfect summation: ”Understanding is reached only after confrontation.”

Chastity Belt is a rock band consisting of four friends – guitarists Julia Shapiro and Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott, and drummer Gretchen Grimm. They met in a tiny college town in Eastern Washington, but their story begins for real in Seattle, that celebrated home of Macklemore and the Twelfth Man. Following a post-grad summer apart, a handful of shows and enthusiastic responses from the city’s DIY community led them, as it has countless others, into a cramped practice space. They emerged with a debut album, No Regerts, sold it out faster than anyone involved thought possible, and toured America, a country that embraced them with open-ish arms. Now they’re back and the tab is settled, the lights are out, the birds are making noise even though the sun isn’t really up yet: it’s Time to Go Home, their second long-player and first for Hardly Art.

In the outside world, they realized something crucial: they didn’t have to play party songs now that their audience didn’t consist exclusively of inebriated 18-22 year olds, as it did in that college town. Though still built on a foundation of post-post-punk energy, jagged rhythms, and instrumental moves that couldn’t be anyone else’s, the songs they grew into in the months that followed are equal parts street-level takedown and gray-skied melancholy. They embody the sensation of being caught in the center of a moment while floating directly above it; Shapiro’s world spins around her on “On The Floor,” grounded by Grimm and Truscott’s most commanding playing committed to tape. They pay tribute to writer Sheila Heti on “Drone” and John Carpenter with “The Thing,” and deliver a parallel-universe stoner anthem influenced by Electrelane with “Joke.”

Recorded by José Díaz Rohena at the Unknown, a deconsecrated church and former sail factory in Anacortes, and mixed with a cathedral’s worth of reverb by Matthew Simms (guitarist for legendary British post-punks and one-time tour mates Wire), Time to Go Home sees Chastity Belt take the nights out and bad parties of their past to their stretching points, watch the world around them break apart in anticipatory haze, and rebuild it in their own image with stunning clarity before anyone gets hung over.

“They’re funny, and slightly goofy, and gently vulgar, and they play with an appealingly loose, relaxed confidence.” –

“In between pelvic-thrusting sexual innuendo and self-mockery, Chastity Belt filter feminist theory, cultural commentary and general intellectual bad-assery…Chastity Belt isn’t the band 2013 wants—it’s the band 2013 needs.”“The guitars on this record…have a nice ring to them, like Liz Phair’s recordings.”

 

 

It can never be said that La Luz are disinclined to hard work. The tour-happy four-piece returns to the road today with a show in Claremont, California that kicks off a three-month North American tour which includes appearances at the Levitation, Sasquatch!, and Pickathon music festivals. Additionally, Hardly Art is pleased to announce that La Luz’s breakthrough debut EP Damp Face is now available on vinyl for the first time ever. This 10” release an be purchased exclusively through the Hardly Art Webstore, in record shops, or at the band’s merch table on any given stop of their ambitious Spring/Summer tour.

For most, a brush with death would be cause for retreat, reflection, and reluctance, but Seattle band La Luz found something different in it: resilience. Having survived a high-speed highway collision shortly after releasing their 2013 debut LP It’s Alive, La Luz, despite lasting trauma, returned to touring with a frequency and tirelessness that put their peers to shame. Over the past year-and-a-half of performing, the band arrived at a greater awareness of their music’s ability to whip eager crowds into a frenzy. In response, frontwoman Shana Cleveland’s guitar solos took on a more unhinged quality. The bass lines (from newly-installed member Lena Simon) became more lithe and elastic. Stage-dives and crowd-surfing grew to be as indelible a part of the La Luz live experience as their onstage doo-wop-indebted dance moves.

When it came time to record Weirdo Shrine, their second album—released August 7th—the goal was to capture the band’s restless  live energy and commit it to tape. In early 2015, Cleveland and Co. adjourned to a surf shop in San Dimas, California where, with the help of producer/engineer Ty Segall, they realized this vision. Tracking most of the album live in shared quarters, La Luz chose to leave in any happy accidents and spur-of-the-moment flourishes that occurred while recording. Cleveland’s newly fuzzed-up guitar solos—which now incorporated the influence of Japanese Eleki players in addition to the twang of American surf and country—were juxtaposed against the group’s most angelic four-part harmonies to date. The organs of Alice Sandahl and the drumming of Marian Li Pino were granted extra heft and dimension. Thematically, Cleveland channeled Washingtonian poet Richard Brautigan on “You Disappear” and “Oranges,” and sought inspiration from Charles Burns’ Seattle-set graphic novel Black Hole.

The resulting album is a natural evolution of the band’s self-styled “surf noir” sound—a rawer, turbo-charged sequel that charts themes of loneliness, infatuation, obsession and death across eleven tracks, from the opening credits siren song of “Sleep Till They Die” to the widescreen, receding-skyline send-off of “Oranges” and its bittersweet epilogue, “True Love Knows.”

In describing Weirdo Shrine, Segall remarked that it gave him a vision of a “world…burning with colors [he’d] never seen, like mauve that is living.” In “Oranges,” the Brautigan poem which inspired the aforementioned track of the same name, the poet writes of a surreal “orange wind / that glows from your footsteps.” These hue-based allusions are apt: the sound of La Luz is (appropriately) vibrant, and alive with a kaleidoscopic passion. Weirdo Shrine finds them at their most saturated and cinematic.

“La Luz is ready to take on the world.” – MTV Hive

“…a uniquely haunting – albeit occasionally unintentional – spin on the innocent guitar-driven pop of the late ’50s and early ’60s, nudging the sock hop vibes of Dick Dale and the Shirelles into a darker parallel dimension.” – Paper Magazine

“Imagine all of the Shangri-La’s trying, precariously, to balance on top of Link Wray’s surfboard.” – Pitchfork

“One of those bands that hit the ground not running, but sprinting.”

Joe Casey was once why he chose to start his first band with a group of guys roughly ten years his junior. His answer was simple: He needed them, needed this, needed Protomartyr. He didn’t want to end up singing classic rock covers in a carport or dive bar one night a week. At 35, with no musical background and crippling stage fright, he needed friends who were young and hearty enough to want to write and record and practice and tour and be heard as badly as he did then. He’d just lost his father to an unexpected heart attack, and his heartbroken mother to the beginnings of Alzheimer’s shortly thereafter. He’d come to understand, all too intimately, how brutal and finite a life can be. Consider then the urgency with which he joined his bandmates—guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer Alex Leonard, and bassist Scott Davidson, fellow alums of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy—for the first time, in a basement full of unsuspecting onlookers. Consider the urgency with which they’ve approached everything since—three albums in three years, each more extraordinary and rewarding than the last. This music is inherently, unassumingly high stakes. I can think of no other band that moves me like they do.

October marks the release of The Agent Intellect, their third and finest work to date.  Named after an ancient philosophical questioning of how the mind operates in relation to the self, it’s an elegant and often devastating display of all that makes Protomartyr so vital and singularly visceral an outfit. Over the course of several months, Ahee waded through more than a hundred song fragments until he reached the bottomless melodies of “I Forgive You” and “Clandestine Time”, the inky depths of “Pontiac ’87” and titanic churn of “Why Does It Shake?” Lyrically, Casey is at his most confident and haunting. He humanizes evil on “The Devil in His Youth,” and, amid the charred pop of “Dope Cloud,” he reassures us that nothing—not God, not money—can or will prevent our minds from unraveling until we finally fade away. We are no one and nothing, he claims, without our thoughts. It’s a theme that echoes through the entirety of the record, but never as beautifully as it does on “Ellen.” Named after his mother and written from the perspective of his late father, it’s as romantic a song as you’re likely to hear this or any year, Casey promising to wait for her on the other side, with the memories she’s lost safely in hand.

I remember a story he told me in Detroit. A few months earlier, he’d been driving with his mother as a Protomartyr recording played on the stereo.

“Joe,” she asked him. “Who is this?” “This is us, Mom,” he told her. “That’s me.” “Oh!” she said, “This is very good.”

Protomartyr share a video for their song “Dope Cloud” (from their critically acclaimed album The Agent Intellect, which was directed by self-proclaimed Protomartyr fan Lance Bangs. Bangs, known for directing music videos for the likes of R.E.M., Pavement, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and Arcade Fire, was simply drawn to the song and made the video on his own time and submitted it to the band. The video shows the demise of one of the last phone booths in the country.

Meanwhile, Protomartyr continues their huge tour of everywhere, which has them basically playing everywhere humanly possible. New Canadian, east coast, and European dates have been added.