Union Transfer





Thu, October 23, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA


Sold Out

This event is all ages

"It felt like we were in a movie that had a totally implausible ending..."

Slowdive's second act as a live blockbuster has already been rapturously received around the world. Highlights thus far include a festival-conquering, sea-of-devotees Primavera Sound performance, of which Pitchfork noted: "The beauty of their crystalline sound is almost hard to believe, every note in its perfect place."

"It was just nice to realise that there was a decent amount of interest in it," says principal songwriter Neil Halstead. The UK shoegaze pioneers have now channelled such seemingly impossible belief into a fourth studio opus which belies his characteristic modesty. Self-titled with quiet confidence, Slowdive's stargazing alchemy is set to further entrance the faithful while beguiling a legion of fresh ears.

Deftly swerving what co-vocalist/guitarist Rachel Goswell terms "a trip down memory lane", these eight new tracks are simultaneously expansive and the sonic pathfinders' most direct material to date. Birthed at the band's talismanic Oxfordshire haunt The Courtyard - "It felt like home," enthuses guitarist Christian Savill - their diamantine melodies were mixed to a suitably hypnotic sheen at Los Angeles' famed Sunset Sound facility by Chris Coady (perhaps best known for his work with Beach House, one of countless contemporary acts to have followed in Slowdive's wake).

"It's poppier than I thought it was going to be," notes Halstead, who was the primary architect of 1995's previous full-length transmission Pygmalion. This time out the group dynamic was all-important. "When you're in a band and you do three records, there's a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record."

Drummer and loop conductor Simon Scott enhanced the likes of 'Slomo' and 'Falling Ashes' with abstract textures conjured via his laptop's signal processing software. A fecund period of experimentation with "40-minute iPhone jams" allowed the unit to then amplify the core of their chemistry. "Neil is such a gifted songwriter, so the songs won. He has these sparks of melodies, like 'Sugar For The Pill' and 'Star Roving', which are really special. But the new record still has a toe in that Pygmalion sound. In the future, things could get very interesting indeed."

This open-channel approach to creativity is reflected by Slowdive's impressively wide field of influence, from indie-rock avatars to ambient voyagers - see the tribute album of cover versions released by Berlin electronic label Morr Music. As befits such evocative visionaries, you can also hear Slowdive through the silver screen: New Queer Cinema trailblazer Gregg Araki has featured them on the soundtracks to no less than four of his films.

"When I moved to America in 2008 I was working in an organic grocery store," recalls Christian. "Kids started coming in and asking if it was true I had played in Slowdive. That's when I started thinking, 'OK, this is weird!'"

Neil Halstead: "We were always ambitious. Not in terms of trying to sell records, but in terms of making interesting records. Maybe, if you try and make interesting records, they're still interesting in a few years time. I don't know where we'd have gone if we had carried straight on. Now we've picked up a different momentum. It's intriguing to see where it goes next."

The world has finally caught up with Slowdive. This movie could run and run...
"While driving though Chicago, on tour, we stopped finally to visit Wilco at their studio, The Loft. They had invited us to come check it out several times over the years, but this would finally be the day. It's a great place—a sea of instruments in a relaxed, open working environment. It's cool, but what really converted us was hearing the new Mavis Staples tracks they were working on: big, simple, raw, and intimate. Plans were made then and there.

'Don't break my Grammy streak.' We have worked with many of the great engineer/producers. Jeff Tweedy has been on our side of the microphone for over 25 years, however with engineer (and fellow Grammy winner) Tom Schick, he has of late become a formidable and eclectic producer. He spoke a language we understood, but then took us effortlessly into the mystery.

We've made many records, and you know our M.O.: slow, quiet, sometimes melancholy, and, we hope, sometimes pretty… How is this different from any other Low record? - Mimi sings lead on five of the eleven songs (she usually only does one or two, despite being a fan favorite). - Piano, lots of piano… and an acoustic guitar. - Songs about intimacy, the drug war, the class war, plain old war war, archeology, and love.

Thank you for your time again and please enjoy what we made. I think it's beautiful."

—Alan Sparhawk from Low
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123