On the heels of last years critically acclaimed debut LP Under the Pale Moon and EP Earth Has Doors, comes the sophomore album Cut Yourself Free from the guitarist of San Francisco garage-pop titans The Fresh & Onlys. His latest effort is another convergence of moonlit romantic swagger and post-punk mascaraed urgency. Again self recorded and produced to tape, but now Miles’ poignant song-craft has emerged more refined, benefiting from the avalanche of his frenzied live shows, but also adhering to a more minimalistic fashion with crooning mid-era Nick Cave or Bowie/Roxy Music strains of pop-modernism. But what stands at the forefront is Miles’ command of his textural guitar and vintage-synth sprawl that on his choosing can open dream-like vistas, or pierce with an engine’s snarl. The record’s spine lies in its starched and disciplined bass lines and equally incessant drum patterns that assuredly pace the record. Turning to the narrative, Miles weaves each song with its own vignette of story line, often with a vaguely obscured protagonist/antagonist dialog. “White Nights” carries a wry play on worrisome panic over a Jack the Ripper-esque mystery. A desire to find deeper meaning and purpose are laid bare throughout Cut Yourself Free, and quite overtly on the epic in scope lead in cut “The Ascension” and standout “Night Drives” with its circa ’81—synths played at midnight vibe.
Relationships in Miles’ sketches are always tangled, if not licentious affairs, but are presented more as lustrous gateways to mend and revitalize rather than squalor in. Gone for now are the chordal acoustic strums and the 7-minute prog bluster of previous efforts, replaced with a didactic tone that’s at once far heavier and equally more spacious and concise, all to show the confidence and wide breadth Miles’ work has gained in his recent emergence.
Next month, ahead of the new LP will come a new 7″ single from Wymond, which opens with the beautiful anthemic post-punk song, “Passion Plays” (also appears on the LP). Miles says his desire was to make, “a motoric blast of rock that a trio could easily play. Lyrically it’s an open book of feverish confusion with love affairs, the ties that bind, and the blades that cut us free.” The B-side is a cover of a legendary Flying Nun band, The Terminals. Shayde Sartin (also of Fresh & Onlys) plays bass and Kelley Stoltz plays drums on the track. Miles’ previous full length was critically acclaimed and showcased a side of the artist with very different output than Fresh & Onlys, one who was exploring his 70’s glam roots and early 80’s post punk influences. As hooky as ever though, Wymond’s musicianship shines through and extends here to include bass and theremin duties.
Today, Wymond is sharing “Passion Plays” with us, and you can stream it below. He’s also hitting the road for a couple dates in September with Deerhunter and then is touring the U.S. in November with Crocodiles. All info is below, as well as an album teaser directed by Ryan Browne
9/6 Salt Like City, UT @ Urban Lounge †
9/7 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater †
9/12 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel ≈
11/06 Costa Mesa CA @ Detroit ¥
11/07 San Diego CA @ The Casbah ¥
11/08 Los Angeles CA @ The Echo ¥
11/09 San Francisco CA @ The Chapel ¥
11/11Portland OR @ Bunk Bar ¥
11/12 Seattle WA @ Barboza ¥
11/15 St. Paul MN @ Turf Club ¥
11/16 Chicago IL @ The Empty Bottle ¥
11/19 Toronto ON @ Lee’s Palace ¥
11/20 Montreal QC @ Divan Orange ¥
11/21 Allston MA @ Great Scott ¥
11/2 Philadelphia PA @ Boot & Saddle ¥
11/23 Brooklyn NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg ¥
† w/ Deerhunter
≈ w/ Weekend
¥ w/ Crocodiles