Sign up for our mailing list Real artists creating records on their own terms
Close

Sign up for our mailing list

News

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Islands Announce New Album 'A Sleep & A Forgetting'

Acclaimed modernist pop band Islands will release their new album A Sleep & A Forgetting this February 14th via Anti-Records. While the record continues the band's penchant for crafting adventuresome and infectious state of the art pop music, this time band leader Nick Thorburn has infused the songs with a personal introspection that gives the record a new and powerful emotional resonance.

"This album is far more personal than any I've made before," Thorburn explains. "I left New York after the end of a relationship and came to Los Angeles. There was a piano where I was staying and that's where I wrote these songs. This record deals with loss, with memory and forgetting and with dreaming. I started writing it on Valentine's Day and its coming out on Valentine's Day."

A Sleep & A Forgetting is the anticipated follow up to Islands critically heralded record Vapours, which Black Book described as "infectious and weird....masterful" and Popmatters proclaimed "a damn fine record." The new album was produced by Thorburn and fellow Islands member Evan Gordon in less than two weeks, the 11 songs recorded live with hardly a single overdub. It's a stripped down process and beautifully understated sound which only reinforces the confessional content of the lyrics

The new album offers all the shimmering sonic textures and irresistible melodies that have come to define Islands enduring appeal, but there is a deeply personal cathartic undercurrent to the songs. "The sound is really my interpretation of soul music," Thorburn offers. "I mean, I'm a white kid from Canada so it's gonna be very warped. But that's where my head was at, that particular way of dealing with themes of pain and heartbreak."

While admittedly listening to the classic soul of Smokey Robinson and The Temptations, Thorburn was also influenced by the introspective folk of artists such as Sibylle Baier, Maddy Prior and June Tabor. As a result the sound is less an approximation of classic Northern soul and more akin to the symphonic and cathartic pop of soul baring artists like Harry Nilsson and Roy Orbison. As the late Link Wray once said, "Soul music is pain."

And it comes together to striking effect on songs like the heartfelt ballad "Same Thing" with its echoing modernist beat, lilting refrain and confessional lyrics such as: "I can't wait to see, what becomes of me, the ease with which I sleep, tends to frighten me." As Thorburn explains, "I wrote that song when I was just in the depths. It was just this surreal and intensely cathartic experience." On the darkly dramatic "Oh Maria" Thorburn sings of Buddy Holly's anguished young widow and her reoccurring crash site dreams. "She would have these dreams about being in the field where his plane went down," Thorburn says. "She would be trying desperately to get past all the bystanders to see him one last time. It's such an evocative story it just stuck with me. And it's absolutely consistent with the album's themes of heartbreak, death and dreaming. "

Far from being self pitying, A Sleep & A Forgetting powerfully transforms personal unrest into affecting and soulful pop music. "It's kind of frightening," Thorburn reflects.

"I've always hidden behind devices and humor but this album is just so much starker and open." And it's a risk that absolutely pays off. The new record features some of the most startling and memorable songs from a supremely talented band which has continued to both evolve or surprise.

Facebook | Twitter | Google Plus
 

Browse by Artist

1429All Artists 92Tom Waits 54Mavis Staples 52Neko Case 51Lost In The Trees 50Sean Rowe 48Dr. Dog 41Jolie Holland
40Bettye LaVette 37Man Man 37The Milk Carton Kids 33Tim Fite 33DeVotchKa 31Islands 31Grinderman 29Tinariwen 27Galactic 27Wilco 24Michael Franti and Spe... 22Bob Mould 22William Elliott Whitmo... 21Nick Cave & The Bad Se... 21The Frames 21Son Little 20Joe Henry 19Booker T. Jones 19Sage Francis 18Saintseneca 17Yann Tiersen 16Ramblin Jack Elliott 16Jason Lytle 16John K. Samson 13Daniel Lanois 13Billy Bragg 13Christopher Paul Stell... 13Doe Paoro 12Xavier Rudd 11The Weakerthans 11Lyrics Born 11Rain Machine 11Mose Allison 11Roky Erickson 11The Antlers 11Andy Shauf 10The Swell Season 10The Melodic 10Xenia Rubinos 10Peter Silberman 9Marianne Faithfull 9N.A.S.A. 9Glen Hansard 9Deafheaven 8Solillaquists of Sound 8Cadence Weapon 8The Coup 8Cameron Avery 7Elliott Smith 7Eddie Izzard 7Greg Graffin 7Dead Man's Bones 7Alec Ounsworth 7Beth Orton 7Kelly Hogan 7Calexico 7Title Fight 7Prism Tats 6A Girl Called Eddy 6Busdriver 6Os Mutantes 6Kate Bush 6Broken Twin 6So Much Light 6Delicate Steve 5One Day As A Lion 5The Field 5Keaton Henson 5Beat Connection 4Ersi Arvizu 4Marketa Irglova 4Pops Staples 4Jade Jackson 4Los Angeles Police Dep... 3Danny Cohen 3Sierra Leones Refugee... 3Petra Haden 3Cass McCombs 3Japandroids 2Various Artists: RANGO 2The Drums 2Girlpool 1Tricky 1Joe Strummer And The M... 1Youth Group 1Blackalicious 1Antibalas 1Porter Wagoner 1Various Artists: ROGUE... 1The Locust 1Rogue's Gallery 1Kronos Quartet with Br... 1Simian Mobile Disco 1case/lang/veirs 1Merle Haggard 1Jeff Tweedy
See Full List+