I feel like Murray Lightburn and the Dears never got the praise they deserved. For me, I’ve always loved him, even more so when he climbed into the crowd at the Parish many years ago to belt out notes midsong. Here, on Murray’s latest single from his forthcoming solo work, we get the gentle side of Lightburn; he has this angelic way of hanging notes out there in the air, letting them sort of quiver at the tip of his tongue. And, of course, it’s a Murray production, so he’s surrounded himself with these gentle and lush arrangements that only accentuate the magic of his voice. His new album, Hear Me Out, will be released by Dangerbird Records on February 22nd.
I still remember seeing the Dears at the Parish in 2009; I remember thinking that no one had owned the stage quite like Murray Lightburn…I still think that to this day. They just released the second single from Times Infinity Volume Two…the companion piece to Volume One that was released in 2015; these songs were recorded in the same session. Despite Lightburn’s claim that these songs were “during an unmistakable sense of unease” you can still hear the band holding onto hope. Even the spirit of the song survives, with an upbeat vibe from the bouncing percussion. Still, the winner will always be Murray’s pipes. Always. Look for the the new LP on July 14th via Dangerbird and Paperbag.
I know I’m incredibly late getting this news out, but when it’s a band we love as much as The Dears, I’ll share despite my extreme tardiness. With that out of the way, I’m pumped to be sharing with you today a brand new single and video for the band’s first new material since Degeneration Street from 2011. The track, “I Used to Pray For the Heavens to Fall”, is a class Dear’s song full of tons of emotion and charisma. Welcome back.
The Dears will drop Times Infinity Volume One on September 25th via Dangerbird Records. Volume Two will be coming early in 2016.
Video and song after the jump.
First, let’s focus on the fact that Arthur Beatrice isn’t a man, but rather an act from the UK. Then we can focus on the music, which oddly resembles the beautiful pop that I typically associate with the Dears. Yes, the vocals might be the reason why I lean that way, with that female vocal backing the soft croon. Still, the pacing and the function of the track do pay homage to the more expansive brand of indie rock. The group have just completed their debut record, which should find a release in early 2014. I’ll keep you posted as we draw near that date.
Murray Lightburn from The Dears has always been a guy, and most ATH members would agree, is highly underrated in the indie scene. He has a huge discography with his Canadian band and has always understood charisma and what it takes to be an engaging frontman. Let’s also not forget about his ability to craft unique and rather incredible pop tunes. With that out-of-the-way, you can understand our excitement to hear about Murray taking a leap into his first ever solo venture. The project is credited to his own name, but the concept/album is labeled as MASS:LIGHT. Below you can find the first taste of this new solo material with tasty track “Motherfuckers”. To me, it seems like a song in which you can hear Murray wanting to give the middle finger to anyone who has ever doubted his musical prowess. Or it could just be about a girl…
This great new track also has an accompanying video available on youtube that was directed by Murray himself. Stay tuned for more details on his new solo project as we receive them.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/01_Motherfuckers.mp3]
Download: Murray A. Lightburn – Motherfuckers [MP3]
If you haven’t heard of Guineafowl until now, we’ll forgive you, as we’re just catching onto the band ourselves. The Australian group is coming to the States to support the release of their Guineafowl EP. The feel of their first US single totally epitomizes my need for high-fueled energy on Wednesday; it’s got bits of stomping, yet I can sort of hear that blissful swoon of the Dears hiding beneath their guitar work lines. Just sort of imagine blending pieces of eclectic elements with bits of electronic rock, add some swinging chorus lines, and you’ve got this group summed up. Damned if that doesn’t sound like a great bit of fun to me. Their EP is out now on Dangerbird.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/02-Little-Fingers.mp3]
Download: Guineafowl – Little Fingers [MP3]
When the last Dears record, Missiles, came out, we all knew that there were obvious issues that needed to be addressed. Amid line-up changes and more time spent collaborating with members old and new, the band have emerged with what might possibly be their best record to date. Degeneration Street is full of squalls of feedback, great melodies and everything you’ve come to expect from the band.
You’ll begin the journey, and believe me, it’s a trek, with “Omega Dog” offering up a tight little angular guitar riff as Murray Lightburn does his best to approach a nice little falsetto. There’s a nice little groove, and the guitar riff will definitely resonate with every listener. Of course, the Dears never stand in place for long, going off into a darker corner of the song for the closing minute, with a fierce little guitar solo accompanied by noisy atmospheric elements.
But, one of the things that makes Degeneration Street so stunning is its ability to shift gears, much as the band does on the second track “5 Chords.” While other bands bash out their hits in less than thirty minutes, here you’ll find a band building their sound, not only within individual tracks, but with the album as a whole. This number definitely fulfills the happier pop element present in the record, with sweeping harmonies. A stomping drum beat helps keep the pace through it all, but please, pay great attention to Lightburn, as its clearly his voice that deserves all accolades in this song. Similarly, “Thrones” does a great deal to take the somewhat prog-leaning elements into a bit of melodrama, but that’s mean in a respectful sense. Tiny guttural yelps from Murray signify his playfulness, which we can hope relates to his joy with writing this entire collection of songs.
You’ll never think that the band has gone completely soft after listening here, as sharp-edged guitars are a constant throughout. Take “Stick w/ Me Kid,” which chugs along a jagged guitar line. The keyboard or programmable element only furthers the tension in the song, keeping listeners on squirming. Okay, so the operatic element in Murray’s voice definitely allows you to see a bit of light within the song, as we can imagine him standing in the middle of the audience, controlling us all with his voice as the band rages furiously on stage.
In the end, what stuck with me the most about Degeneration Street was the sense of jubilation that lives within the tracks, despite the usual lyrical content remaining. Let’s face it, Murray hasn’t always been one for optimism, but even with similar themes intact, you can’t tell me that songs like “Yesteryear,” with its almost danceable beat, don’t portray a man who’s having a blast writing the record he always wanted to unleash. Just try and tell me that “Easy Suffering,” in title alone, doesn’t paint the picture of a happier frontman. I blame this freedom and joy for one of the stronger tracks I feel the band have written, “Tiny Man.” It’s a solemn tune, one that surely comes from Lightburn’s personal writing, but his vocal delivery, and the mood just creates something wonderful to witness, especially after following the band from their earliest years. Perhaps I’m a simpleton, but sometimes a step back from traditional habits allows for great moments to burst forth.
Such sentiment seems to pervade Degeneration Street. At times in the past, they seemed victim of their unstable footing, but musical prowess never fell by the side. It’s always lived in the writing of Murray Lightburn, and it seems that perhaps with a strengthened Dears line-up, he’s finally been able to fit all the pieces together, as we all hoped he would do. It’s a sixty-minute affair, with varying styles, various approaches, all settling in the end, leaving listeners with one of the most rewarding listens that I’ve heard in a really long time.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/01-Omega-Dog.mp3]
Download: The Dears – Omega Dog [MP3]
So we literally just posted a new song from The Dears last week and now yet another new one has popped up on the internets. This new tune is called “Blood” and will also appear on the band’s upcoming Degeneration Street due out February 15th on Dangerbird Records. I can’t say I’m feeling this one as much as the other new jam “Omega Dog”. Anyone care to disagree?[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/TheDears-Blood.mp3]
Download: The Dears – Blood [MP3]
It seems like the Dears are one of the most under appreciated bands in Canada, and we’re always hoping that they’ll make a huge breakthrough Stateside. Their latest effort, Degeneration Street will be hitting the streets on February 15th via Dangerbird Records, and everything we’ve heard so far has us once again delighted about the possibilities from their forthcoming album. It’s not even fair to compare these guys to anyone, as they never cease to reinvent themselves, for better, time and time again. Definitely going to be loving this track for months to come.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/01-Omega-Dog.mp3]
Download: The Dears – Omega Dog [MP3]
This is a serious subject, and one I don’t plan to take very lightly. As I’ve attended several shows recently, even small local ones, I began to look at the racial dynamic in the Austin music scene. Oddly, one giant sore thumb sticks out: the lack of African-American attendees at these shows. This is probably the same way in every city across the land, and I tend to think it’s quite unfortunate. I’m not here to debate how to solve the problem, if you deem this a problem, but rather to honor my Top Five African-American participants in the realm of indie rock. This is just my opinion, but I immediately banned the guy from Bloc Party because he put out two bad records and continues to make bad electronica music.