VUNDABAR announce new album and share first track ‘Burned Off’

January 15, 2020



After a full North America tour announcement in December, Vundabar are overjoyed to announce a new album, called Either Light, in 2020. The record is the band’s fourth, and their first with producer Patrick Hyland (Mitski). It arrives 13th March on their own Gawk Records and is now available for pre-order.

The band are sharing a new song and lyric video for the track “Burned Off” today – watch it HERE – it’s the first new music released from Either Light. “‘Burned Off’ details time spent waiting out a low. It’s bad, it’s bad, it’s bad, then it’s not, it burns off,” explains Vundabar’s guitarist/singer Brandon Hagen. “The song explores that surreal and sometimes inexplicable moment of interior shift, the fog lifting, and the way our internal state informs our external experience. It could turn light into a puddle or a puddle into light, but then it burns off! Temporary and dual. We see our protagonist wet, we see our protagonist dry, we see our protagonist ruminating and then looking to the future, finally finding solace in the ephemeral, the chorus a reassurance of what’s now known.”

Either Light follows Vundabar’s critically acclaimed 2018 album Smell Smoke. The record received critical praise across the board, including Pitchfork (“a winning, cathartic album”), NPR (“spiky, caustic, fundamentally good-natured rock & roll”), Stereogum, FADER, Consequence of Sound, Paste, VICE, SPIN, Uproxx and more. 

In the lyric video for “Burned Off”, directed by Vundabar’s Hagen, the band sought to express the concepts of dual realities, the internal, changing states and the oddness of experience through the use of shadows, projectors, frames within frames, multiple light sources, goofs and gags, water, smoke, mirrors and an unreal environment created using Vundabar drummer Drew McDonald‘s photography, which also happens to be the record’s cover art. 

Following a brief touring sabbatical (any time off the road for Vundabar is notable as they play 200+ shows a year!), the band will kick off their North America headline tour in March. On the road they will be joined by Great Grandpa, Boyscott, Ohmme, The Ophelias, Destroy Boys, Boyo and Dehd (different combinations of the bands are on different dates), and the run includes a stop at Treefort Music Festival. Tickets for all shows are on-sale now.

Vundabar is a great guitar band. In an age where critics argue endlessly over whether or not the guitar is dead, the Boston band could clearly care less. Trends be damned, Vundabar continue to play and be who they are. Along the way they’ve sold out 1000+ cap rooms across the country, self-released and sold thousands of their records, and built a dedicated fan base for their quirky indie pop that follows them wherever they go.

In March, Vundabar will release their fourth album, Either Light, on their own Gawk Records. “The album is about the transitional lightness that follows a period of heaviness” singer/guitarist Brandon Hagen explains, “After years of being caught up in a dark period marked by sickness, strife and worry, and using it as the context in which I saw myself, I suddenly found I’d outgrown that story. With that came a feeling of lightness that was opposite the feeling which preceded it.” The album’s title refers to that duality – “light” is used as a descriptor for the weight of feeling, the quality of illumination that frames that feeling and the spectrum that spans both.

The songs themselves contain numerous symbols that are key to understanding the album’s central theme. There is an acknowledgement of awful circumstances, an acceptance of them, and the decision to move forward regardless. It’s a universal trope that rings especially true at this point in history. 

Cars, water and even Tony Soprano feature in the lyrics, each imbued with their own meaning relevant to Either Light’s themes. The paradox of being willfully doomed, which is arguable uniquely American, is embodied in Tony Soprano. Cars and driving appear continually in the lyrics, as songwriter Brandon Hagen explores the idea of being along for the ride, where the passenger isn’t necessarily in control. While writing the record, Hagen went swimming each day in a lake by his home. He was often struck by the relationship between light and water – how water divorces light from its source. The mysterious nature of refracted light and the sense of confusion it causes plays into the themes of the album as well as begs the question – from where and what?

For Either Light, Vundabar worked with producer Patrick Hyland (producer for Mitski’s Be the Cowboy, Puberty 2, Bury Me at Makeout Creek). It makes the first time they have ever had someone produce one of their albums. Their original bass player, Zackery Abramo, re-joined the group to play on the record, and Emily Massey from Slow Pulp contributed backing vocals. While in the past Vundabar’s recording process has always been very self contained, this album is notable for having had more people collaborating than ever before. Recorded at Gradwell House and Retro City Studios, Vundabar came in with the song skeletons and built out the arrangements in the studio. The difference is apparent and there are a host of new sounds on Either Light, including a sequencer, vibraphone, synth, drum machines, and more layered vocals than ever before.

01) Out Of It
02) Burned Off
03) Codeine
04) Petty Crime
05) Easier
06) Never Call
07) Montage Music
08) Jester
09) Paid For
10) Other Flowers
11) Wax Face

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