“Groovier than anything on [previous album] Smell Smoke, swapping out the fiery theatrics for more of a simmer.” Stereogum
“Hints of new wave rolled into tight little hooks and succinct, catchy verses.” Consequence of Sound
“Either Light shows Vundabar graduating from being a buzzy indie-rock outfit to a group carving out their own lane” NYLON
Vundabar are today sharing a new track, ‘Montage Music’ alongside an essay on Talkhouse by guitarist/singer Brandon Hagen, which explores the mythology of American life and culture through the symbology of cars. Hagen explains, “Montage Music is a meditation on the way capitalism takes beautiful cycles of birth, death and rebirth and makes them ugly by making future regenerations impossible. The song uses a car as the primary symbol for this as it exemplifies the unsustainable, though sometimes intoxicating, aspect of modern life. The narrator becomes fully engrossed in the vanities and demands of this life, and only at the end of the song notices a cloud of burning black smoke rising from tea being made without water, now impossible not to notice.”
‘Montage Music’ is from Vundabar‘s upcoming album, Either Light, out March 13th, 2020 on their own Gawk Records, and was released alongside a lyric video created by the band. It follows earlier singles ‘Petty Crime’ and ‘Burned Off’, which won praise from Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, NYLON, Under the Radar and more. Either Light is Vundabar’s fourth album, and their first with producer Patrick Hyland (Mitski). It is available for pre-order.
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.
Vundabar will kick off their North America headline tour in March. On the road they will be joined by a rotating cast of support including Great Grandpa, Boyscott, Ohmme, The Ophelias, Destroy Boys, Boyo and Dehd.
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.