This week we’re sharing Halcyon & Surrounding Areas, the new LP from Bushwick locals The Library Is On Fire. The muddled album soars in loud, thrashing songs as well in gentle lo-fi lullabies, contradictory messages of gloom and optimism peeking through the fuzz in bold guitars and and sensual, moody, vocals. Friday First is a weekly column devoted to premiering new music from local, national, and international artists.
This 14-song album was born in the purity of nature and perfected amongst the grit of Bushwick (sounds like a lot of us). Founding member of The Library Is On Fire Steve Five says the recording process for Halcyon & Surrounding Areas began last winter when he rented a house in the woods where, armed only with his guitar, a four-track recorder, a notebook, and a bedroll, he escaped the chaos and confines of New York to begin working on the album. A month later, Steve returned to Bushwick with a cassette full of demo tracks which the band ultimately decided to record in their studio loft, dubbed TLIOF HQ. There they were able to hone in on a unique recording process, including hypnotic backwards guitars (heard best on single “Sleeping Out Loud”), cheap thrift-store instrumentation, and creating textural and personal ambient noise to guide the album.
It’s ironic that their album title shares the rare word “Halcyon” with that of Deerhunter’s 2010 Masterpiece, Halcyon Digest, as the bands share a lot of influences- shoegaze, art punk, and alternative- while sometimes creating similar sound atmospheres layered beneath dulled, jaded vocals (especially on “Fly On The Painting”). TLIOF spins their rock’n’roll web with a skuzzy 90’s thread, weaving in influences like My Bloody Valentine, Kurt Vile, and The Smashing Pumpkins. The album flows perfectly from the rough, staccato punk bout of “Uncanny Mark Of The Wounded Healer” to the calm and kind pace of “Labyrinths of February” which is laced with dreamy lyrics, “you woke up in a metaphor”) and wandering melodies to match. Other standouts include emotional single “Red Flags,” which tears with a Foo Fighters-esque guitar riff, crashing cymbals, and yearning, minimal chorus.
Halcyon & Surrounding Areas is simply an amazing album and we’re proud to premiere it. This Bushwick band will be on everyone’s radar before we know it, so follow them on Facebook for updates on upcoming shows.