Listen to this track by electronically-inclined indie-rock band New Hands. It’s “Tulips”, an outlier song to their planned full-length lp, currently in gestation.
The album is scheduled to be released next year, as the five piece band and their producer Michael Keire (Apostle of Hustle, Wildlife, Dark Mean) take their time to bring the music to its full potential in the studio.
Such has been the approach for this single, a tale of relationship vulnerability (“Shake your head and hold my hand, say I’m still important “), punctuated by sound that mixes rock instruments and post-punk synths.
The pitfall to this approach, if not seeking out a cold and alienated vibe, is losing the balance between a precise, cut-glass sound that this strain of rock music requires, and a warm recording that invites a listener into it. To my ears, and probably yours too, the band has managed to achieve that balance.
New Hands’ bassist Evan Bond explained it to me, via email. This is what he said:
One really big thing about the recording of “Tulips” was that we (committed) a lot of it to tape before treating it in the computer. Our producer Michael Keire really likes the idea of getting our new/electronic sound through analog equipment because it makes such a big difference in bringing everything together nicely with a warmth that can’t be duplicated with a computer. We worked on it for about two months of straight tracking and editing every minute detail until we had a perfect product.
New Hands has worked alongside Keire before, with the single “This I’ve Heard”, created over a series of weekends in the studio, and having fun discovering the wonders of the recording process. This was after a period of collecting experiences as as live band, and tweaking their approach accordingly. The scale of their ambitions as a band seeking to arrange their material in just the right way has evolved even further.
For instance, another interesting choice in terms of presentation in “Tulips” is that the lead voice is sometimes in the foreground, but is often heard in the background as well. This gives this song a kind of three-dimensional feel, as various textures take turns for your attention.
Under a less deft hand, this result could have been unfocused instead of sonically varied. But, here it’s seamless, and evocative of music from across the eras, while sounding wholly original, too. This also seems to be something of an interweaving of skill sets, with the writing being supplemented by production that has an exceptional attention to detail.
To trace the development of New Hands and their developing full-length record, my advice is to hit up the New Hands band Facebook page.
Also, for additional information about music, tours, photos, and other stuff, investigate newhandsband.tumblr.com.