Durham psych rockers Lilac Shadows turned heads last year with No Dark/No Light, an ambitious song cycle that took listeners spaceward in a storm of melody and texture. On Feb. 28, they host a special release event at The Pinhook in anticipation of the actual March 3 arrival of their new LP, Brutalism,through Raleigh’s DiggUp Tapes. They’ve provided a hint of what’s to come with the debut of a song and a video, “Alive in Dying History.”
The song’s percussive, astringent guitars recall seminal British post-punkers like Gang of 4 and Wire. Sam Logan, who built the band four years ago, acknowledges the influence.
"I was always familiar with the post-punk movement, with bands like Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen, but a friend of mine sent me a copy of Chairs Missing," he says. "It completely blew my mind. They were taking pop music and ripping it into shreds.”
The title of the new record comes from Brutalist architecture.
“It’s a cold, detached style that sort of imposes itself on the landscape. It’s also very minimal, which applies to these songs as well—they were written with four people in a room, playing only what could be recorded live,” Logan explains.
Lilac Shadows have shown a marked interest in visual art. Last year’s record was released on limited-edition cassettes, featuring the work of 27 local artists. The sleeve for Brutalism—their first set to appear on vinyl—features the work of Raleigh painter Will Goodyear. He painted a cover, then turned the first 50 copies of the LP into a giant canvas and painted the image on it. You can get one of those special LPs—on rainbow-hued vinyl, to boot— if you are among the first 50 to pony up on Feb. 28. (Disclosure: Band member Reed Benjamin is an INDY employee.)
Until then, feast on this jittery, neon-hued video, created by local visual artist Adam Graetz. The motion mirrors the song’s slow-building tension and clangorous culmination. The visuals originated with a trip to Logan’s hometown of Charleston, South Carolina and the feelings that stem from a once-familiar place.
“I have a detached relationship to that city now, and it was an experience of feeling somewhat removed from the present, flooded with all of the emotions of my childhood and growing up,” he says. “It is definitely a kind of apocalyptic take on the ‘you can't go home again’ feeling.”