Chairlift have come back with the first bit of new music since 2012’s much-loved second album Something that saw Caroline Polacheck go on to write a solo album as Ramona Lisa and a writing credit for Beyoncé’s last album. While Patrick Wimberly played in Bey’s sister Solange’s live band and wrote for her album which may never come out (maybe). Squad goals!
‘Ch-Ching’ is furnished with a glint of that pop magic and Polachek’s ever-impressive vocal style.
Caroline Polachek debut solo album as Ramona Lisa, Arcadia explores a much more atmospheric and unsettled sound than her synth pop work with her Chairlift musical partner Patrick Wimbley.
Recorded in transient spaces like airport gates, hotel closets or the more concrete villa in Rome with only a laptop mic, Polachek really takes advantage of modern music technology by using MIDI obes, organs and other instrumentation to create her synthetic soundscapes.
“I’ve done everything with Chairlift from an androgynous, non-gendered point of view,” she told The Fader recently. “What makes Ramona’s world specific is a sort of femininity that I’ve never gotten into before.”
An album conducted and worked upon all in her own time and with no one else involved in the process, Polachek says it’s a personal record with a pastoral feel despite its digitised synthetics.
“It’s exciting to live in a time when vocals don’t sound human half of the time,” Polachek says. “I was going after the idea of what the 2014 equivalent of a shepherdess singing in a field would sound like. What’s the contemporary equivalent of that character?”
Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek has a self-produced album called Arcadia on the way in April under the name Ramona Lisa.
The concept is an album of love songs composed in MIDI with Polachek’s vocals (who has been taking opera lessons). It was recorded in a studio in Rome on a laptop with no external mics, everything was recorded into the computer in enclosed spaces, airport gates or hotel closets. Polachek used virtual MIDI oboes and organs. There will be some “announced and unannounced” live dates this year. This is the meandering and pastoral ‘Arcadia’.
Laced with late night visions, John Talabot and Pional’s remix of Chairlift’s ‘I Belong In Your Arms’ works the sun rising vibe with its title, ear-filling keys, and snippets of the original’s melodies, bent into new shapes, with reminiscence of a night that has gone before.
Well, this is amazing. Bonus points to Chairlift for recording a Japanese version of their song and making a video for it. Too cool. Caroline Polacheck lived in Tokyo when she was younger so she’s a natural. Love the “Something Something Something” intelligible bit.
Grimes and Chairlift Forbidden Fruit photos by Paulo Gonçalves.
If there’s anything this weekend reminded me, it’s when it comes to festivals, you don’t have to travel to get the experience. With Bloom in the Park taking up a large space in the Phoenix Park to Forbidden Fruit in the Royal Hospital Gardens in Kilmainham, the green west part of the city was home to many more people’s weekends than normal, an encouraging display of the sentiment that the city is there for us to use.
This year was my fourth South By South West and before I left for Austin, I was apprehensive about the festival’s status as a relevant music event in its 26th year. Over 2,000 bands visit the Texas capital to try and advance their careers and I wondered why they bothered anymore? Was there actually worth in them playing? Any band who travel the large distance must have a profile, a buzz or are there to strike a deal on Texas soil to make it really worth their while. Bands that travel on blind faith and hope that something will happen for them are delusional and hopefully few and far between these days.
For me, SXSW is a festival that I go to for new music and the opportunity to gorge on it over five or six days. This year a a giant vending machine made the news, commercialism was rampant, Jay-Z playing a gig to credit card customers, Springsteen gave a (mighty) keynote speech while Kanye, Jack White and Skrillex all packed in venues. At the same time, you’ve got an art gallery playing host to a hippy-leaning label showcase, the Boiler Room broadcasting leftfield electronica from a backyard out of town, bands busking on the street and industry chasing the buzz for their own benefit. It’s contradictory, crass, nothing and everything all at once and that means that SXSW is just a pop-up macrocosm of the music industry as a whole.
In which I invent a new word, Aoife and I talk about Azealia Banks (that’s her above drawn by 400 Facts), why Grimes reminds me of Opus III, why Chairlift are great, Twitter fights with Zomby, Icelandic intentions and pronunciations, a load of brilliant Irish electronica and some Shangaan electro.
Chairlift’s 2008 debut album Does You Inspire You? was an impressive if somewhat muddled first release. Swaying from from bubblegum electro-pop to moodier synth cuts, the overall impression of the Brooklyn band’s debut was “interesting” and perhaps most notable for ‘Bruises’, a cute song that featured in an iPod commercial that year.
Chairlift founding member Aaron Pfenning left in 2010 to pursue his solo project Rewards. Meanwhile vocalist Caroline Polachek strengthened her vocal chops in appearances with Girl Crisis, Guards, Holy Ghost! and Washed Out while Patrick Wimberly produced some Das Racist tracks. (more…)
This Chairlift song has really grown on me this month. This live rehearsal studio version gives it an extra edge thanks to some roving 360 degree camera work. Their second album Something is out on Young Turks in January. Listen to the previous excellent single ‘Amanaemonesia’ and a Sampha remix of the above song…
The band with the stupid name return with a song title that is not a thing, and a song that is definitely very much a thing. A big ’80s theme-tune-sounding synth buzzing on a highway. Get those dance moves out of the closet….
Charlift are now a duo. ‘Amanaemonesia’ (pronouced “ah-muh-nah-muh-nee-shuh”) will be released on a 7″ through Grizzly Bear Chris Taylor’s Terrible Records and an album is coming later through Columbia Records. Singer Caroline Polachek last appeared on Washed Out’s ‘You and I’.