Their first new music in six years, arriving via Ipecac Recordings on 21st July.
The inimitable four piece OXBOW are announcing their first new music in six years with the anticipated release of Love’s Holiday, to be released via Ipecac on the 21st July. The album is preceded today by the lead single “1000 Hours” – a song featuring Roger Joseph Manning Jr (Jellyfish, Beck) and with a video directed by John David Levy.
About the track vocalist and lyricist Eugene Robinson comments, “1000 Hours for the OXBOW completist, 100 percent ties in to our other song 1000, thematically in my mind. But filming the video, given that I just had surgery a few days before felt very much like Mann’s Death in Venice to me. You know where waiting to die never felt more beautiful. Which really feels like the essence of love. Or at least one of them.”
Guitarist Niko Wenner adds, “‘1000 Hours’ began life with the bright extroverted feel you hear most, but inevitably the darker introspective mood of the coda and intro emerged. Both qualities are essential to Love’s Holiday. Roger (backing vocals), John (video director), and Joe Chiccarelli (co-producer) all did extraordinary work to heighten these emotions.”
‘Neither the band nor director knew how things would turn out, joking that they ended up with something like ‘Shiny Happy People, directed by David Lynch’
Next, they share their second single and video for album track “Icy White & Crystalline” and announce further live shows in the UK and mainland Europe – dates and details below.
Directed by Northern Irish filmmaker Kiran Acharya, the video for “Icy White & Crystalline” shows Oxbow as you’ve never seen them before, performing in San Francisco on the disused set of The Snow Queen. The video not only captures the band’s ferocious live energy, but literally shows them in a new light. “Icy White & Crystalline is about as spontaneous as filmmaking can be,” says Acharya. “We had many ideas on the go, including an abstract graphic approach inspired by the work of Josef Albers. But Eugene found the set of The Snow Queen with 24 hours to go and said “this is the place”. We loaded in, set up as live, strapped an icicle to the microphone and went for it.” The result speak’s to Oxbow’s formidable reputation as performers, showcasing one of the most direct songs on Love’s Holiday. Neither the band nor director knew how things would turn out, joking that they ended up with something like ‘Shiny Happy People, directed by David Lynch’.
About the making of the video Eugene S. Robinson comments, “Funny going all the way to a UK-based filmmaker/journo from Belfast in Kiran Acharya for directing the video for Icy White & Crystalline but if you take the same elements and expect something different, you’re on the road to madness. Which is precisely why we used wildly disparate elements to visualize our first “live” music video for Love’s Holiday. Sixteen takes all the way through…’you don’t know how…hearts burn” is the opening lyric. For probably the best of all reasons here: this video almost killed us to make.”
Niko Wenner continues, “Icy White & Crystalline” began as a blown-out ferocious rehearsal phone-recording we’ve aimed to match in high fidelity, the bridge another improv, the two joined make a classic Oxbow banger we’ll doubtless rock live for as long as we plug-in. Enjoy!”
Oxbow have also released “Dead Ahead,” the third single, and its accompanying video, from their forthcoming Ipecac Recordings’ debut album, Love’s Holiday (21st July).
“’Dead Ahead’ was made to order for starting our new album, Love’s Holiday,” says guitarist/pianist Niko Wenner. “It is one of the few songs without choral singing and the only in D Minor, my co-producer in crime Joe Chiccarelli calling for fast and abrasive, it was birthed playing for my kids on an acoustic guitar given to me at age 6 and handmade before 1957 in Umeå, Sweden by Göran Frii. The recording features both the tiny toy tine piano Dan [Adams] gave our children and my 1981 white Stratocaster, the chorus adds a Little Big Muff Pi fuzz pedal I bought in 1979 from Tom Stevenson, my friend from age 4, recently deceased, who taught me to play AC/DC, Judas Priest and Van Halen songs. RIP and rock on, Tommy.”
On the Chris Purdie-directed video, who also created a pair of clips for the band’s 2017 album, Thin Black Duke, vocalist Eugene Robinson shares: “This may be the only video wherein we appear just as actors/characters and while the gaming scene recalls nothing if not Ingmar Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal,’ the lyric is pure OXBOW: ‘This god of love destroys and creates’…indubitably.”
Purdie adds: “The concept for the mirrors used in ‘Dead Ahead’ were inspired by Orson Welles noir, ‘The Lady From Shanghai,’ a film partly based in and around San Francisco. The idea of mirrors and reflection were used to evoke themes of duality, and the idea that there are multiple perspectives, or that things aren’t entirely as they seem.”
Tickets for all live shows are on-sale now – ticket links and details here.
Previous OXBOW albums found their impetus in a lyrical framework provided by Robinson, with Wenner applying his musical compositions to the singer’s narratives. But Love’s Holiday began with the music. “The music was chiefly inspired by and written for my family. We’ve had two children born and my father died while writing and working on this record,” Wenner says. “The songs are just a collection of music that I sang to my babies and then wrote guitar parts for and brought to the band as OXBOW songs.” Love, the guitarist confirms, was the organising principle behind these songs, even if they still carry the band’s signature brand of drama and conflict.
“I’ve always been chagrined that no one understood that our songs were love songs,” Robinson says while reflecting on the band’s output from the last 35 years. Love may not have been the most obvious muse in their earlier work, but the subject has never been more apparent than now.
One of the more apparent manifestations of this new approach is the orchestration on Love’s Holiday. OXBOW has often employed auxiliary instrumentation as an addendum to the guitars on their recordings, but this time around, human voices are the primary addition. Kristin Hayter (Lingua Ignota) lends her soaring operatic vocals to “Lovely Murk.” The layered choral bed of “1000 Hours” was provided by Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck). The album also features a fifteen-person choir plus strings, oboe, flute, and clarinet also find a place within the album.
For all the differences in the process, Love’s Holiday is still very much an OXBOW album. Across its ten tracks, Love’s Holiday can feel feverish, disorienting, hostile, beguiling, defeated, and triumphant.
The album art comes from Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac), and is available on CD, Digital and three vinyl variants including Ipecac exclusive Marbled Grey and Indie Exclusive Red. Preorder here.
LOVE’S HOLIDAY TRACK LISTING:
1. DEAD AHEAD
3. LOVELY MURK
4. 1000 HOURS
5. ALL GONE
6. THE NIGHT THE ROOM STARTED BURNING
7. ” “
8. MILLION DOLLAR WEEKEND
9. THE SECOND TALK