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MOANING

Moaning

Uneasy Laughter

    What happens when an abrasive rock trio trades guitars for synths, cranks up the beats and leans into the everyday anxieties of simply being a functioning human in the 21st century? The answer is Uneasy Laughter, the sensational second Sub Pop release from Los Angeles-based Moaning.

    Vocalist/guitarist Sean Solomon, bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie have been friends and co-conspirators amid the fertile L.A. DIY scene for more than a decade. They are also immersed in other creative pursuits — Solomon is a noted illustrator, art director and animator, while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played or worked behind the boards with acts such as Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse. On Uneasy Laughter, they’ve tackled challenges both personal and universal the only way they know how: by talking about how they’re feeling and channeling those emotions directly into their music.

    “We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” says MacKelvie. Adds Solomon, who celebrated a year of sobriety during the Uneasy Laughter sessions, “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.”

    Moaning’s 2018’s self-titled Sub Pop debut featured songs mostly written in practice or brought in already complete by individual band members. It garnered acclaim from Pitchfork, Stereogum and Los Angeles Times, who observed, “Moaning craft anxious music for an increasingly nervous local scene.” But Uneasy Laughter is a collaborative breakthrough which significantly brightens Moaning’s once claustrophobic sound, again abetted by producer/engineer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, Melvins). The trio points to first single “Ego,” which features a costume-heavy video directed by Ambar Navarro, as an embodiment of this evolution.

    Solomon admits Uneasy Laughter could have gone in quite another direction had he not gotten sober and educated himself on such core subjects as gender and mental health. “I did a lot of reading in the tour van — authors like bell hooks, Mark Fisher, and Alain de Botton, all really inspired me. I don’t want to be the person who influences young people to go get high and become cliche tragic artists,” he says. “What I’d rather convey to people is that they’re not alone in what they think and how they feel. ‘Ego’ specifically and the album overall is about those themes — letting go of your bullshit so you can help other people and be present.”

    “We want to be part of a community,” he adds. “I wrote online about being sober for a year, and I had kids from all over writing and asking for advice. One of them said, ‘For the first time I can remember, I didn’t drink last night.’ I thought, for once, maybe we did something besides sell a record. That’s a win. That’s incredibly exciting.”



    TRACK LISTING

    1. Ego
    2. Make It Stop
    3. ///
    4. Stranger
    5. Running
    6. Connect The Dots
    7. Fall In Love
    8. Coincidence Or Fate
    9. What Separates Us
    10. //////////
    11. Keep Out
    12. Saving Face
    13. Say Something

    The Joy Formidable

    A Balloon Called Moaning - 10th Anniversary Edition

      This 10th Anniversary Edition includes the 2009 EP A Balloon Called Moaning plus a newly recorded acoustic Welsh Language version “Y FalwnDrom”. All the songs on A Balloon Called Moaning were written a decade ago by Ritzy & Rhydian in North Wales. On the new release, Ritzy explains "We’ve been through such a lot as a band over the years, it’s been a really reflective studio session; returning to the old recordings & transforming them into these beautiful stripped back, intimate versions. It’s exciting hearing them in the Welsh language because now they have new life too & can be a celebration of language as well as memory"

      TRACK LISTING

      Disc: 1
      1. The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade
      2. Cradle
      3. Austere
      4. While The Flies
      5. Whirring
      6. 9669
      7. The Last Drop
      8. Ostrich

      Disc: 2
      1. Y Golau Mwyafyw'rCysgodMwyaf
      2. Crud
      3. Llym
      4. TraBo'rGwybed
      5. Chwyrlio
      6. 9669
      7. Y Diferyn Olaf

      Moaning is a band defined by its duality. The abrasive, post punk trio comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie, began nearly a decade after they met in L.A.’s DIY music scene. Their debut album comes born out of the member’s experiences with love and distress, creating a sound uniquely dark and sincere. Although the band is just breaking out of their infancy, Moaning’s sleek and cavernous tone emphasizes the turmoil of the era they were born into. One where the endless possibility for art and creation is met with the fear and doubt of an uncertain future.

      The trio began regularly frequenting DIY institutions like The Smell and Pehrspace, eventually selling out dozens of their own shows at both venues with their first few bands. Solomon recalls, after a brief hiatus from playing together, Moaning’s conception came when he sent Stevenson and MacKelvie the first demo for “Don’t Go,” setting the tone for the impulsive songwriting that would follow.

      The three fleshed out Solomon’s primitive recordings, adding in MacKelvie’s heavy syncopated drumming, and Stevenson’s melodic driving bass and synth parts, capturing each member’s personality in their sparse and fuzzed out tracks. Like many of their previous collaborative projects, Moaning forces pain up against pleasure, using the complexity of personal heartbreak to inform the band’s conflicted sound. The band eventually landed on the apt moniker Moaning, admiring the ambiguity the name held and hoping to reference both an intimate wail and an anguished scream

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Laura says: Sub Pop really are on a roll at the moment! LA band Moaning bring us some doomy, abrasive guitar tunes, with skittering drums and rumbling fluid bass lines that nod to early 80s post punk. Add to that dead-pan vocals and big hooks and they've got me sold!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Don’t Go
      2. Tired
      3. Artificial
      4. Close
      5. Does This Work For You
      6. The Same
      7. For Now
      8. Useless
      9. Misheard
      10. Somewhere In There


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