Band of the Day

2014.03.14

Western Lows

Whorls of beautiful noise that burn, flicker, and fade in their own light
I was stuck in the place where the currents would crest, a lighthouse, a gate unbecoming the impatient west.
lyrics from Swan Fields

Western Lows didn't form. Not all at once, anyway. The project came into being slowly, in fits and starts, over the course of 2012, a year which saw Jack Burnside travel from Los Angeles to Athens, GA to record with Andy LeMaster (Now It's Overhead, REM, Azure Ray) at Chase Park Transduction.

With LeMaster on board as bassist, producer and co-conspirator, half-solid ideas gradually began to assume a concrete shape. Glacial's ten songs burn, flicker, and fade in their own light, cutting a path that flows and eddies, marrying hushed vocals with barbed-wire guitars and widescreen washes of sound.

From the stark opening guitar line of "Grapevine," Glacial unfolds gradually, revealing itself inch by inch. In its quieter moments, the record travels the same highway that led bands like Mazzy Star to their most arresting work. Stormers like "Last Known Rivers" and "Gave Away" are carried by whorls of beautiful noise, echoing Mission of Burma or Guided by Voices.

The haze clears on "Icicles", a track that recalls the kind of anxious-but-hopeful crystal-clear pop that put The Cure on the radio. "Lazy" starts up with a blast of MBV-esque tremolo-arm growl draped over the steady rumble of Jeremy Wheatley's drum kit. Wheatley (Crooked Fingers) and Clay Leverett (Bright Eyes) trade off on drums over the course of the record. Orenda Fink (Azure Ray) contributes vocals on "I Will".

The band now features a lineup rounded out by Julien Bellin and Michael Orendy. Glacial is available in the US via JAXART Records and the UK / Europe via Highline Records.