|The Bright Light Social Hour
|Space Is Still the Place
The Bright Light Social Hour — Space Is Still the Place ΞΟΞ “Life on the road can be pretty rough, and as a way of sort of escaping into the self, we kind of imagined space as a metaphor for escaping into dreams and dreaming of progress,” O’Brien said. “A dream of a new frontier where you go into it and cut free of all history and have all of these kind of chains or claws inside of you that prevent progress in a lot of ways.”
Location: Austin, TX
Album release: March 10, 2015
Record Label: Frenchkiss
01. Sweet Madeline 5:44
02. Slipstream 2:56
03. Dreamlove 5:05
04. Ghost Dance 2:35
05. Sea of the Edge 3:51
06. Aperture 4:41
07. Ouroboros 4:30
08. Infinite Cities 4:43
09. The Moon 3:16
10. Escape Velocity 8:13
℗ 2015 Frenchkiss Records
ΞΟΞ Joseph Mirasole, Jack O’Brien, Curtis Roush. Also Edward “Shreddward” Braillif.
ΞΟΞ No matter how much research you put into figuring out who will be the hottest new artists of each year, another act comes into your vision with an output that absolutely blows you away. Today, that band is Austin, Texas’ The Bright Light Social Hour. The Huffington Post is pleased to announce the upcoming release of their new album, “Space Is Still The Place,” and premiere their first single, “Infinite Cities.”
ΞΟΞ Comprising members Jack O’Brien, Curtis Roush and Joseph Mirasole, as well as Edward “Shreddward” Braillif, “Infinite Cities” kicks off a quick, hi~hat groove before some spacey guitar picks begin echoing overtop. A swirling bridge shows Roush occasionally sliding into dissonance, just nearing resolution before the next line picks up, leading into one final chorus where O’Brien and Roush’s harmonies line up the strongest. According to O’Brien, the song is about “quick movement or a quick change as a new form of home,” in which one tries “to find a sense of stability or comforting identity within the movement itself.”
ΞΟΞ A listen through the rest of the album reveals a diverse pack of punches. Some wander deeper into the ambient brooding of “Infinite Cities,” some bear the lightheaded psychedelics of acts such as Tame Impala and some delve into the bluesy rock similar to the earlier works of The Black Keys, all with a raw, unique edge that cuts through.
ΞΟΞ “We became really interested in mixing southern aspects of music — soul, rock, blues, those sort of things — with a progressive outlook, where we got really into dance music, house music, techno, psychedelic rock,” O’Brien said. “We became really interested in mixing all those sounds; something future~looking and also vibe~y and comfortable, but different all together.”
ΞΟΞ But “Space Is Still The Place” is more than just a mélange of southern sounds laced with spices from a more adventurous palate. It is the band’s first foray into exploring politics in their music. Falling into the self–assigned label of party–rock, TBLSH’s debut, self~titled record was a reaction and safety net for the stresses of O’Brien and Roush’s time in graduate school. After touring the album for several years, they came to the conclusion that this wasn’t the sound and message they wanted to make a career out of. What resulted is their concept of a “Future South.”
ΞΟΞ “When we started putting the record together, ‘Future South’ was kind of a phrase or a motif we were thinking about a lot because for us it’s simultaneously it’s an aesthetic and political thing,” Roush said. "The aesthetic side is similar to how Jack explained it. On the political side, there’s a lot that’s backwards about the South, and very obviously so. The South has always kind of lived at the back end of American history, you know, as things progress around the country, the South is the last to follow along. I guess with our generation — millennials and general human beings — we’re more fair, we’re better educated, we’re more dedicated to justice than any of our predecessors, and that this doesn’t need to be an inevitable thing anymore. The South can be a place of radical change; a role to play in pushing the political and cultural conversation of the country forward.”
ΞΟΞ A prime example of issues addressed was made very clear to the band through their touring experiences. Operating on a tight budget, they would often spend the night at fan's houses after performances. What they noticed through their conversations with those that welcomed them into their homes was that so many of them had „shitty jobs.“
ΞΟΞ “They’re, (a) not making very much, and (b), very few people are doing things that feel any kind of self~actualization by,” Roush said. “That feeling of good work, you know, where you feel your soul in it and it really utilizes your abilities. We’re kind of witnessing first hand the effects of recession and expanding inequality and declining opportunity. There are songs on the record, especially the more rock~leaning, that address some of these frustrations. Like, I just read today that by next year, the richest one percent will have control of 50 percent of the world’s wealth, and that kind of keeps going up.”
ΞΟΞ Roush continued: “On the flip side of that, there are the kind of more future~leaning, or dreamier songs on the record that are meant to be more hopeful, more kind of gazing outward: what could be or what ought to be. So there’s kind of two strands on the record that look two different directions.”
ΞΟΞ Space also plays a large role in the design of TBLSH’s new record. The album’s title derives from the film and musical composition “Space Is The Place” by jazz composer (and so much more) Sun Ra. In the film, Ra transports the black community a new planet to be free of their history and oppression.
ΞΟΞ “Life on the road can be pretty rough, and as a way of sort of escaping into the self, we kind of imagined space as a metaphor for escaping into dreams and dreaming of progress,” O’Brien said. “A dream of a new frontier where you go into it and cut free of all history and have all of these kind of chains or claws inside of you that prevent progress in a lot of ways.”
ΞΟΞ Furthering this their theoretical departure into the final frontier, O'Brien, Roush and Mirasole decided to send HuffPost Entertainment a list of their possible blast off songs: the final tunes they would listen to as the departed Earth for forever. :: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
By Crossfade Wed., Feb. 4 2015 at 11:00 AM
ΞΟΞ Who knows if it’s the right time to be happy. Bright Light Social Hour spent the last couple years touring and hanging out, and the band isn’t sure either. But BLSH is looking to drum up some optimism with the upcoming album, Space Is Still the Place, because everybody is so tired of it sucking in America.
ΞΟΞ Bright Light Social Hour will kick off its 2015 tour in support of the new record with the New Times Music Showcase at Coconut Grove Art Festival 2015.
ΞΟΞ The band is excited to come back to Miami, where they played about this time last year. In fact, the Austin outfit is so stoked for our sunny shores, singer and bassist Jack O’Brien tells us that he and the crew are already craving Cuban chow and some beach time.
New Times: How has your music progressed from your first album to Space Is Still the Place?
Jack O’Brien: We spent much of 2011 and 2012 on the road. We got in the van and just toured and toured and toured. I think we realized if we’re going to be doing this night after night, as a career, and make our lives out of this, what do we want to say? We spent a lot of time soul~searching. We wrote a whole record’s worth of stuff that we ended up scrapping. We’d write stuff, and then we’d try it out on the road, and it just wouldn’t be powerful enough or deep enough or something. So I think with this new music, we were inspired by touring and staying with people. Mostly on couches and floors.
ΞΟΞ Most of the touring was in the South and Texas, and we were really inspired by people that we stayed with and talking with them about their struggles. People of our generation are really struggling. It’s improving, but we're still one of the first generations of recent ones to have the unemployment and class gap that we have. A lot of it was looking at and reflecting on that situation. At the same time, we all really got into space and used it as a metaphor for a future that is detached from the past.
Q: You’ve gotten more political on this new album, which isn’t a huge surprise considering, at least, your 2013 song, “Wendy Davis,” about the Democratic politician from Texas who became famous for filibustering an abortion ban. But are people surprised?
A: It’s funny. We’ve always been a very politically minded band. The self~titled album, the politics is very secondary there. It’s heavy, times are tough, but let’s get together and be optimistic about the future. That’s what our lives were. It was right in the middle of the recession and that stuff was really escapist. There’s a political undercurrent there. But the new album, the politics are a lot more in front and dealt with more directly, which could be surprising.
Q: How do you guys tie in the political message with a concept about space?
A: It’s very easy to be pessimistic right now, because there isn’t any sort of obvious new frontier. Up until the early part of the 20th century, there was always the actual frontier, going west to further develop the country. And then in the ‘60s, you had space become the new frontier, and that was really exciting and captivated people. Once the Cold War ended, there just seemed to be a waning in the interest for that. Now, there’s the Internet and technology, but not a physical place that represents imagination and the future. In the last few years, there’s been a resurgence in that interest and you see a lot of young people really looking to that. We’ve just come off a really difficult thump. Our generation is one of the few that hasn’t been better off than the one before. So we’ve kind of fallen back and [rediscovered] the positivity and optimism of progress. We searching for something to hope for. That’s represented by space.
Q: And you’ve taken on a more Southern sound on this album. You guys sound like the War on Drugs playing dancey rock music like Passion Pit. How does that work out?
A: For the new record, it kind of goes back and forth between songs that are more dance~music inspired and something more gritty, founded on driving drums, guitar, and bass in a Southern kind of way. For us, what we take from Southern rock is overdriven guitars and bass, and maybe a Stax Records kind of feel. Traveling through towns and what we’re seeing. The back and forth throughout the album reflects that.
Q: You’re kicking off a pretty lengthy tour in Miami at the Coconut Grove Arts Fest. Why Miami? You guys actually like it here?
A: Honestly, only because we were invited to play the arts festival. [laughs] The timing of it was first.
Q: You guys do like it here, though.
A: We love Miami. It was the first city we played outside of Texas. We’re flying in a day or two before [the festival], and then we leave the day after. We have some time. We’ll hit the beach, and eat only Cuban food the whole time we're there. That’s all we eat. Author: — Stephen Feller :: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/
ΞΟΞ The Bright Light Social Hour (2010)
ΞΟΞ Space Is Still The Place (2015)
ΞΟΞ Touches (2007)
ΞΟΞ Love Like Montopolis (2008)
ΞΟΞ New Year’s Live (2011)
ΞΟΞ “Back and Forth” (2009)
ΞΟΞ “Wendy Davis” (2013)
ΞΟΞ “Infinite Cities” (2015)
|The Bright Light Social Hour
|Space Is Still the Place