Los Angeles-based Western-inspired indie rock band The Lonely Wild stand out from the mass of faux-Western thrift-store wearing, stylized-facial hair toting bands, by having built a reputation for their authentic, fiery, and passionate live performances. On their first full-length LP TheSun As It Comes (Release: April 2 - buy it here), the band have drawn on these characteristics to boldly paint a hyper-realist portrait of a raw and thrilling journey through an unforgiving, scorching desert landscape.
The journey starts with the album’s title track, ‘The Sun As It Comes’, stirring in the suspenseful pre-dawn moments before the song crests in a brilliant burst of searing guitar flurries and radiant cymbal bursts. In the desert wilderness, the sun is not only a warm source of invigoration but also an unrelenting, volatile force and our leaders are racing onward onto the scorched terrain, weary and wrought but ever-optimistic of the horizons ahead.
‘Everything You Need’ is a harrowing song, churning at a restless pace with an arrangement confidently teetering on clangorous tumult. The track indulges the Southwestern instrumentation that the band have become renowned for, featuring driving, strummed guitar, thunderous drums, and sonorous trumpet melodies. Lead singer Andrew Carroll’s plaintive roaring vocals are laced by the soaring, emotive female vocals of band multi-instrumentalist Jessi Williams.
The album cover for The Next Day is a startling obfuscation of an iconic image from one of David Bowie’s most innovative and breakthrough eras. Heroes was the product of Bowie’s Berlin era, a period characterized by a forceful reprieve from Bowie’s manic excesses as the opulent, Orwellian ‘Thin White Duke’. Always carrying his persona as an extension of his artistic canvas, the black-and-white image implied that ‘Berlin Bowie’ was a stark return to a proper artistic vision. Here, by shattering the beloved image of our hero at his most humble, Bowie is forcing us to strip away all notions of his status. And with little media/PR pageantry surrounding the release, his powerful, gravely voice is a stand alone force of reckoning. At its essence, the “new” Bowie is an acknowledgement of his iconicism, a rejection of his celebrity, and possibly his most personified work since his beginnings.
Bowie is no stranger to public exposure: to break him into North American markets, his management team employed a strategy of rocketing him into the overexposed celebrity media culture. Having worn many faces and extinguished so many personas, it seems that the man is coming to grips with the fact that the mask-wearer himself (the survivor of a heart attack in 2005) some day will be snuffed. The Next Day is not a new day; it’s a realization of mortality despite the immortality of his work. As he states in the nostalgic Scary Monsters-esque track “Dirty Boys”, “the sun is set, the die is cast”.
The Next Day is not a comeback album nor is it a victory lap, its Bowie with nothing to prove and nothing to gain.
Groovy disco beats, hypnotic melodies shrouded in cloudy synth hazes, sinisterly dark vocals (ala Matthew Dear), silvery guitar plucks, and icy piano stabs (akin to the Chromatics) comprise the overall warm glowing tone of Monochrome. This material is deeply entrenched in the Neon-Noire genre, a chilling atmosphere bathed in the vibrant neon of the after-hour joints.
I Am The Cosmos are Ross Turner and Cian Murphy and they employed a layered approach, recording actual synthesizers and amps to build dark and ambient atmospheres layer by layer. Solar Bears founding member Rian Trench assisted with production of Monochrome (Cosmos member Cian is a touring member of the Solar Bears). Stream the album below!