DFA graduate Shocking Pinks premieres new single “What’s Up With That Girl?” on Dazed & Confused ☆☆ Triple album Guilt Mirrors releases Feb 18 2014 via Brooklyn imprint Stars & Letters Records
Things are looking up once again for Nick Harte. After a six year hiatus with Shocking Pinks, three earthquakes, a destroyed studio, a family intervention, and a “somewhat voluntary” relocation from Christchurch to Wellington, the former DFA and Flying Nun artist is back on track.
Earlier this year, Harte whittled down hundreds of songs written and recorded over 6 years into a “mixtape” trilogy called Guilt Mirrors, signed with Brooklyn label Stars & Letters Records in the summer, premiered his first new single “Not Gambling” via Pitchfork last month, picked up additional coverage in SPIN, Stereogum, and many more, and today he shares his second single “What’s Up With That Girl?” via Dazed & Confused.
Featuring lead vocals by former Tiger Tones singer Ashlin Frances Raymond, as well as production by Arkitype, “What’s Up With That Girl?” is perhaps one of the most collaborative, yet also most quintessentially Shocking Pinks tracks out there, with Dazed describing the song as “a nervous step into some post-traumatic nightclub, wearing its tetchy hook like alien skin,” with Raymond’s presence “nourishing the music, projecting Harte’s spiritual catatonia outwards.”
“Candy flipping lies or suicide / Fold your stomach close to your eyes / The snow coming through my door / Christians and the like / A real fucking cigarette / I feel like I’m in the film” — lyric excerpt
The Guilt Mirrors trilogy releases February 18, 2014 on Brooklyn label, Stars & Letters Records. The first single “Not Gambling” recently premiered via Pitchfork, the second and latest single “What’s Up With That Girl?” is now available via Dazed & Confused.
Shocking Pinks, the project of New Zealand’s Nick Harte, will at long last release the follow-up to 2007′s self-titled album. It’s a triple-album called Guilt Mirrors, and it’s out February 18 via Stars & Letters. That’s new single “Not Gambling” above.
Guilt Mirrors was initially announced as an EP last year, when Harte shared album cut “DOUBLEVISIONVERSION”. As he previously noted, he recorded the album after an earthquake hit his hometown, Christchurch. His recording studio was damaged, and as a press release notes, he recorded in isolation on little sleep with his windows blacked out.
Read the full article on Pitchfork here, with the complete track-listing.
Former Flying Nun and DFA artist Shocking Pinks signs to Stars & Letters to release triple album Guilt Mirrors after six year hiatus and three major earthquakes
After a 6 year hiatus, the former Flying Nun and DFA artist Shocking Pinks has signed with Stars & Letters Records to release the Triple Album Guilt Mirrors on Feb. 18, 2014.
New Zealand wunderkind Nick Harte’s musical exploration of pain, diaspora, and obsession are woven into a sprawling triple album that reconnects audiences with the dark, discordant, and intimate brand of “dream-pop-miserablism” (as Harte puts it). Somewhere between pastiche and mix-tape aesthetics, Guilt Mirrors is a bigger-than-life expression of the artistic process, exposing the white bones of former drug abuse, personal failure, transcendent epiphanies, and musical breakthroughs. It’s a record shaped just as much by time and loss, as it is by chords and melodies.
On February 22, 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake ripped apart Harte’s home town of Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 185 people. While the death toll was relatively low compared to earthquakes in Haiti or Turkey, the earthquake completely ravaged the city, flattening the town area—and damaging Harte’s recording studio. With it’s local economy and infrastructure in tatters, Christchurch’s dynamic musical community evaporated almost overnight. In nearly complete isolation, Harte remained, painting his windows black and recording for multiple days in a row without sleep. The songs recorded during this time were some of his most desperate, conceived as an attempt of self-therapy.
It wasn’t until friends and family intervened that Harte finally relocated to Wellington, and Guilt Mirrors truly began to take shape. It wasn’t until he began unpacking his boxes and notebooks that Harte realized the immense scale of the material he had recorded over the years. In his estimation, he had “over 7 or 8 albums worth of material” (more than 300 demos and complete works). Instead of polishing the songs up to give them a commercial gleam and an artificial theme, Harte envisioned a record that reflected the truth of his life as he had experienced it: with highs and lows, failures and successes, stops and starts.
Influenced by the cinematic structure of auteurs like John Cassavetes, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Nicholas Winding Refn, Guilt Mirrors is a sprawling, haunting, beautiful, and at times violent and distressing trilogy, that is much less a curated “album” than it is a personal mix tape. While Guilt Mirrors may be alienating to some, it is a work of singularity and bravery, chronicling life in a bold and truthful way.
The Guilt Mirrors trilogy releases February 18, 2014 on Brooklyn label, Stars & Letters Records, and will be digitally available worldwide via Tunecore. The first single Not Gambling streams right here via Pitchfork.
(Poster design by Alex Koplin)
Woah! Big event for Stars & Letters coming up!! We’ve partnered up with our fellow Brooklyn label buddies over at Ceremony Recordings to present a CBGB Festival Showcase at Pianos on Saturday, October 12, 2013.
Featuring New York debuts by our very own GPSYMTH and Black City Lights, as well as performances by Ceremony’s Prism House, Solar Year, and USF (DJ set), it’s going to be a truly awesome night of dark, experimental, and hymnal electronic music. Tickets are only $10 for all five bands and can be ordered online at TicketWeb.
Also, if you want to let us know you’re coming, head over to our Facebook event page.
Black City Lights have just wrapped up the first leg of their 3-month US tour. Stopping over in Chicago to play with our NU college friends from Love and Radiation, they’ll be arriving in New York on October 1st, where they’ll spend about 6 weeks crashing on our apartment/mega-label-headquarter floor in Brooklyn.
East coast dates are still being firmed up, but we can definitely confirm the rumors that Black City Lights will be playing shows in New York at both the CMJ Music Marathon (New Zealand Music Showcase) and the CBGB Festival (where Stars & Letters might or might not-not be throwing a joint showcase with our buddies over at Ceremony Recordings). More details to follow soon!
Last March Black City Lights introduced their enigmatic blend of dark electronics and female power-vocals with their debut EP Parallels. A little over a year later, Black City Lights has quickly established themselves as one of New Zealand’s hottest and most buzz-worthy exports. Today, Stars & Letters is releasing their prodigious debut album, Another Life. For the first week only, fans can name their own price on Bandcamp.
With dark voices, neon beats, and ghostly electronics that evoke the apocalyptic modernism of a 1980s Blade Runner, it may come as a surprise to learn that Black City Lights hail from the quiet bay city of Wellington, New Zealand. With traces of Austra, Zola Jesus, and The XX, their progressive and cinematic sound has already captured international attention in little over a year. Comprised of wunderkind producer Calum Robb and power-house vocalist Julia Catherine Parr, Black City Lights create soaring and spacious soundtracks to midnight drives, backalley cigarettes, and regretful yeses.
Robb spent 2010 lurking in the background of the Wellington music scene, inspired by the bedroom-studio ethos of inexpensive hardware and audio software like Ableton Live. With no musical experience beyond a few years of piano, Robb began picking up production tips from the likes of Daniel Johnston (Red Steers), and was soon writing music late in 2010. Through mutual friends, Robb met Parr, a classically trained vocalist who was studying music at Victoria University. What started off as a one-track experiment (“Collapsing Horizon”) soon turned into a permanent partnership, with Robb’s expansive, frosty landscapes shimmering beautifully with Barr’s bold and soulful voice.
In March of 2012 Black City Lights released their debut EP Parallels via Brooklyn imprint Stars & Letters. Local and international accolades quickly followed, including copious blog coverage, high-profile support slots, and two prestigious New Zealand On Air grants to fund their videos. One of these projects, “Parallels,” was produced by the We Are The Masses production team, which also created videos for Passion Pit, Bon Iver, and Beach House. Having polished their live set by supporting the likes of Grimes, Baths, and Van She, Black City Lights are now kicking off a 3-month, coast-to-coast tour of the United States in September to support their debut album Another Life. With multiple confirmed dates in LA and New York—including CMJ showcases in October—Black City Lights is looking forward to taking American audiences on a style ride that is both chilling and exhilarating.
Another Life releases world-wide on August 6th via Stars & Letters Records. For the first release week, fans can name their own price at www.blackcitylights.bandcamp.com.
New Zealand & USA tour dates:
“Tried So Hard is about exposing yourself to the world and letting your guard down to gain more experience and knowledge, until the very moment that those experiences become too much and you can feel it starting to change you for the worse. The song started as a remix for NZ artist, Zen Mantra, however (with his permission) we turned it into an original Black City Lights song. Tried So Hard has an array of distorted guitars and synths with a big punchy bass running all the way through. Zen Mantra’s vocals are layered, reverbed and side-chained to create a breathing ethereal canvas which is contrasted by the powerful vocals of Julia’s voice.” (Calum Robb)
© 2013 Stars & Letters / ℗ 2013 Black City Lights. “Tried So Hard” is the third and final single from Black City Lights’ upcoming debut album Another Life (releasing August 6th via Stars & Letters Records).
Written and produced by Black City Lights
Based on a Black City Lights remix of Zen Mantra
Mixed by Black City Lights & Charlie Bronson
Engineered by Adam Ladley
Mastered by Mike Gibson
Art Work by Timothy Marsh
Today, Stars & Letters is excited to release Afterthoughts, the debut EP by Brooklyn’s We Are Temporary. Exploring the space between darkwave, goth, and dream pop, Afterthoughts oscillates between musical violence and frailty, lyrical defensiveness and vitriol, bursts of optimism and crushing nihilism.
“Haunting, mesmerizing, magical… the result is simply overwhelming.”
— Against the Odds
“Lyrics like old love notes… smeared like tears on running eye-liner”
— Impose Magazine
“One of the most real artists you will ever have the pleasure to experience”
— Floorshime Blog
“Stark electronica with a very vulnerable human heart”
— POP LIB
“An incredible release that everyone should check out”
“Simultaneously brutal and brittle; lyrics scathe like steelo over jagged synths and rhythms”
— Cheese On Toast
“A sense of epic, but touching greatness”
— Deer Du Bois
Misfit Mod’s Sarah Kelleher and Club 8′s Johan Angergård collaborate on a special, jointly produced track, “Hot Sun” and join Interview Magazine for a conversation about making more with less, the hidden value of crappy ’90s R&B, and one-hit wonders.
Last month we released the first single “Give It Up” from Black City Lights’ upcoming debut album, Another Life (due out on Stars & Letters, August 6th). With over a 1000 plays a week so far, it is the band’s (and also our label’s!) most popular single to date—so big thanks to everyone who shared it!
Today, we are thrilled to release the new Black City Lights video (and second single) “Offering“. Funded with the help of New Zealand on Air, the video was directed by Alexander Hoyles and explores themes of routine, ritual, and belonging.Download & stream OFFERING via Soundcloud