SUUNS

Hold/Still, the third studio album from Suuns, is an enigmatic thing: an eerily beautiful, meticulously played suite of music that embraces opposites and makes a virtue of cognitive dissonance. It is a record that does not give up its secrets easily. The 11 songs within are simultaneously psychedelic, but austere; sensual, but cold; organic, but electronic; tense sometimes to the brink of mania, but always retaining perfect poise and control. "There's an element of this album that resists you as a listener, and I think that's because of these constantly opposing forces," says drummer Liam O'Neill. "Listen to the song 'Brainwash', for instance, "It's a very soft, lyrical guitar song, existing alongside extremely aggressive and sparse drum textures. It inhabits these two worlds at the same time." From the beginning, Suuns (you pronounce it "soons", and it translates as "zeroes" in Thai) have sought to do things differently. They formed in Montreal 2007, when singer/guitarist Ben Shemie and guitarist Joe Yarmush got together to work on some demos, soon to be joined by Liam, Ben's old schoolfriend, on drums and Max Henry on synth. Their group's first two records, 2010's Zeroes QC and 2012's Polaris Prize-nominated Images Du Futur — both released on Secretly Canadian — were immediate critical hits, and Suuns soon found themselves part of a late '00s musical renaissance in the city, alongside fellow groups like The Besnard Lakes, Islands and Land Of Talk. Still, at the same time, Suuns feel remote from the big, baroque ensembles and apocalyptic orchestras that typify the Montreal scene. "We write quite minimal music," thinks Ben. "They're not traditional song forms, sometimes they don't really go anywhere — but they have their own kind of logic." Or as Joe puts it: "It's pop music, but sitting in this evil space." After two records produced by their friend Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes at his Montreal studio Breakglass, Suuns decided Hold/Still demanded a different approach. In May 2015, they decamped to Dallas, Texas to work with Grammy- winning producer John Congleton (St Vincent, The War On Drugs, Sleater- Kinney). For three intense weeks, the four recorded in Congleton's studio by day, the producer driving them to capture perfect live takes with virtually no overdubbing. At night, they returned to their cramped apartment and stewed. "Recording in Montreal, it's more of a party atmosphere," says Joe. "Here it felt like we were on a mission. We were looking for something to take us out of our element, or that might seep into our music." Luckily, the effect was galvanizing. Under Congleton's instruction, 'Translate' and 'Infinity', songs the group had been reworking for years, suddenly found their form. The result is undoubtedly Suuns' most focused album to date, the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting a guitar music that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets. From the haunted electronic blues of 'Nobody Can Save Me Now' to throbbing seven-minute centrepiece 'Careful', Hold/Still foregrounds the work of Max, a synthesizer obsessive who builds hisown patches and confesses to using cranky or budget equipment as well as top-of-the-range kit because "[good gear] does all the work for you, and that's not always fun". Certainly, this is a band as inspired by the dark groove textures of Andy Stott, the flourishing arpeggios of James Holden or the serrated productions of Death Grips as anything familiarly rock. "Things don't feel right until they've been touched or cast over in an electronic light," elaborates Liam. "It's rare that acoustic drum kit, guitar, and bass comprise a finished product for us. For a song to be Suuns, it has to be coloured by electronics". Certainly this remains a band in love with the aesthetic of obscurity. The album cover is an image of Ben's former workmate Nahka, who was captured by photographer Caroline Desilets using a pinhole camera with a four-minute exposure time — Hold/Still, indeed. In another contradiction, this record finds Ben's vocals far more enunciated and upfront than before. If there are themes that tie Hold/Still together, says Ben, they might be investigations "about sex... perhaps not the act specifically, just [themes] of a sexual nature. But there's also a spiritual undertone that points to another kind of searching." The sexual is illustrated in the dark romance of 'Careful', while longing becomes both sexual and spiritual in the thirsty pleas of 'Instrument': "I wanna believe/I wanna receive..." The spiritual takes over on the back half of the record. 'Nobody Can Save Me Now' evokes artist Tracey Emin's ghostly invocation For You at the Liverpool Cathedral: "I felt you / and I knew that you loved me", while side B opener 'Brainwash' wonders: "Do you see, all seeing? / Do you know, all knowing?" In a cultural centre like Montreal, bands can get too comfortable playing to their peers. Suuns, though, feel like a band always looking to the nearest border. They found early audiences in France and in Belgium, where they curated the Sonic City Festival in 2012, booking acts as diverse as Swans, Tim Hecker and Demdike Stare. Meanwhile, the last couple of years have seen them tour as far afield as Mexico, Morocco, Beirut, Taiwan and Istanbul — sometimes with friend Radwan Moumneh of the multimedia project Jerusalem In My Heart, with whom they released a brilliant collaborative record, Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart last year. "We tour a lot as a band and we've been all over the map at this point," says Ben. "There is a concerted effort on our part, when the opportunity arises, to do that. It's like, this time, let's try to go further east, let's try to go further south. You find yourself playing in front of people who don't get bands playing in front of them often, and that can be really fun." In short, good things happen when you venture outside of your comfort zone — a truth that you could equally apply to Hold/Still itself: an album which derives its eerie power from simmering tensions and strange, stark juxtapositions, and in doing so, directs rock music down a new, unventured path.

WATCH // Suuns Announce ‘Hold/Still’ For Release April 15th, Video + Dark Sky Psych Remix For First Single “Translate,” Share Worldwide Tour Dates


 

Hold/Still, the third studio album from Suuns, is an enigmatic thing: an eerily beautiful, meticulously played suite of music that embracesopposites and makes a virtue of cognitive dissonance. It is a record that does not give up its secrets easily. A natural step on from theirtwo previous albums, 2011s Zeroes QC & 2013s Images du Futur, and yet a marked departure,Hold/Stillis a cerebral exploration ofhow to take live and analogue instruments and create a deeply textured electronic record. In May 2015, they decamped to Dallas,Texas to work with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton and for three intense weeks they recorded by day and stewed in theircramped apartment by night. It felt like we were on a mission – looking for something to take us out of our element, or that might seepinto our music, say the band. Hold/Still will be released 15 April, 2016.

Thefirst single, “Translate”, is one of the defining songs of the album – the sound of a band working in mental lockstep, crafting guitarmusic that feels unbeholden to clear traditions or genre brackets. It is a song that the band have been reworking for years, and wasone of the last songs to be finished for the album, and yet, perhaps, defines the record perfectly. The synthesizers are the work of MaxHenry, an obsessive who builds his own patches and confesses to using cranky or budget equipment – [good gear] does all the work foryou, and thats not always fun.

Accompanying the song is the first of a trilogy of videos for the album (the second and third installments will be launched ahead of therecord release). Shot by Charles-Andr Coderre, a long term collaborator of the band, he says Translate’, the first music video of atriptych series, is an incandescent vision. It was shot with thermal imagery. The concept was simple: film the band in their rehearsalspace and transfigure the footage into something unusual and gorgeous. We experimented the different meanings of the word”translate” and explored a new film language by shooting what the human eye can’t see.”

Also released today is the Dark Sky Psych remix of Translate”– the first of a number of remixes that will be launched alongside tracksfrom the album. This one takes”Translates” repetitive, krautrock-like rhythms and squeezes them into a tighter, mesmeric arrangement..Says Dark SkyWe really liked the psyched out sounds and sonics from the original track which sounded vintage but also forwardthinking. We were inspired to build on this vibe.”


Preorder Hold/Still now:
via

 

Tracklisting:

Fall
Instrument
UN-NO
Resistance
Mortise and Tenon
Translate
Brainwash
Careful
Paralyzer
Nobody Can Save Me Now
Infinity

Suuns Tour Dates:
(more info and tix here)

07-Apr – Bar le Cha-Cha, Ste-Therese QC, CA
09-Apr – La Taverne, St-Casimir QC, CA
15-Apr – L’Anti, Quebec City QC, CA
16-Apr – Le Naufrageur, Carleton QC, CA
20-Apr – La Tulipe, Montreal QC, CA
21-Apr – St Alban’s Church, Ottawa ON, CA
22-Apr – Adelaide Hall, Toronto ON, CA
19-May – Berghain, Berlin, DE
20-May – Melkweg, Amsterdam, NL
21-May – Grand Mix, Lille, FR
22-May – La Nuit De Botanique Festival, Brussels, BE
24-May – ICA, London, UK – Tickets
27-May – Immergut Festival, Neustrelitz, DE – Tickets
28-May – Seewiesen Festival, KleinReifling, AT
30-May – TBA, Paris, FR
01-June – PrimaveraSound, Barcelona, ES
05-June – Maifield Derby Festival, Mannheim, DE
08-June – Monk, Rome, IT
09-June – Beaches Brew Festival, Ravenna, IT

LISTEN // Suuns + JIMH Share Remix Of “3attam Babey” by Lucrecia

Check out this spacey, droned out, dark remix of “3attam Babey” from the Suuns + JIMH collaboration. From the band:

Lucrecia is a talented artist from Colombia living in Berlin. We are happy she’s applied her surreal, minimal, ecclectic approach to our otherwise guitar heavy synth jam, “3attam Babey”.

Check out the Suuns + Jerusalem In My Heart tour dates:
(more info an tix here)

11/19/15 Skopje, MK – Cinedays Film Festival w/ Jerusalem In My Heart
11/21/15 Utrecht, NL – Le Guess Who Festival w/ Jerusalem In My Heart
11/23/15 Paris, FR – Institut Du Monde Arabe w/ Jerusalem In My Heart
11/24/15 Leuven, BE – Het Depot w/ Jerusalem In My Heart
11/25/15 London, UK – Oslo w/ Jerusalem In My Heart
11/27/15 Prestatyn, Wales – ATP Festival w/ Jerusalem In My Heart

WATCH // Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart Share “In Touch” Video, Fall Tour Dates

The enigmatic video for “In Touch” features imagery shot during a trip to play a show in Lebanon and then digitally altered for the video. Despite the Arabic influence in the music, the video shoot was not planned for the trip but came out organically from the footage that they shot off-the-cuff whilst they were there.

In a twist of good fortune, we all found ourselves in Beirut earlier this year. It seemed only natural for Charles-Andr to film his reflections, the bands, and the vibe of this rare set of circumstances” the band adds “with his discreet reel to reel projectors, we hardly noticed that a music video was in the works. Our memories of that time in Lebanon are a whirlwind of first impressions, late nights, good music, and good people. A barrage of colors and light, not unlike this video.

For people that witnessed the Suuns live show last year for their Images Du Futur album, theyll tell you that theres no such thing as a typical Suuns show; but now with Jerusalem In My Hearts Radwan Mounmeh collaborating, its set to be even more spectacular. With shows across the continent, including a headline performance at East London venue Oslo and at ATPs Nightmare Before Christmas, expect to be completely blown away.

Order SUUNS and Jerusalem In My Heart:
SCD/direct // Amazon // iTunes // Indies

SUUNS Tour dates:
(more info and tix here)

18-OCT – VERA, GRONINGEN (NL)
19-OCT – Z-BAU, NUREMBERG (GER)
20-OCT – UT CONNEWITZ, LEIPZIG (GER)
22-OCT – CULTURALNA, WARSAW (PL)
24-OCT – ELEVATE FESTIVAL, GRAZ (AT)
25-OCT – MAME, PADOVA (IT)
26-OCT – BRONSON, RAVENNA (IT)
27-OCT – LAMALGAME, YVERDON-LES-BAINS (CH)
28-OCT – SOY FESTIVAL, NANTES (FR)
31-OCT – JAMESON URBAN ROUTES, LISBON (POR)

19-NOV – CINEDAYS FILM FESTIVAL, SKOPJE (MAC)
21-NOV – LE GUESS WHO? FESTIVAL, UTRECHT (NL)

23-NOV – INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE, PARIS (FR)
24-NOV – HET DEPOT, LEUVEN (B)
25-NOV – OSLO, LONDON (UK)
27-NOV – ATP FESTIVAL, PRESTATYN (UK)
28-NOV – IKSV, ISTANBUL (TUR)

ALBUM RELEASE // Suuns and Jerusalem In My Heart Self-Titled Album Out Now, Announce Tour


The self-titled release from Suuns and Jerusalem in my Heart has arrived. Born of a studio session in November 2012, these seven tracks combine the strengths of both bands, from “The Eastern modes and drones plus the Arabic vocal delivered by Moumneh [of Jerusalem In My Heart], and the keyboard arpeggios and incisive guitars of SuunsShemie and Joe Yarmush.” (Exclaim!).

“A unique, inspiring document, ‘Suuns And Jersualem In My Heart’ has the flexibility of a live performance with the exacting quality of a studio project.”
Clash Music

“A gargantuan, continent-fusing album”
Stereogum

You can order the album via SCD, Amazon, iTunes, or your local record store.

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SUUNS And Jerusalem In My Heart TRACKLIST:


1. 2amoutu I7tirakan
2. Metal
3. Seif
4. In Touch
5. Gazelles In Flight
6. Leyla
7. 3attam Babey

SUUNS TOUR DATES
[All dates + tickets: secretlycanadian.com/tour]

5/14 – Victoriavile, QC – FIMAV
6/11 – Wakefield, QC – The Black Sheep Inn
6/12 – Kingston, ON – Grad Club
6/13 – Toronto, ON – Geary Lane
6/18 – Winnipeg, MB – The Good Will Social Club
6/20 – Saskatoon, SK – Moso Festival
6/21 – Calgary, AB – Broken City
6/23 – Vancouver, BC – Fortune Sound Club
6/24 – Victoria, BC – Lucky Bar
9/18 – Guelph, ON – Guelph Jazz Festival
9/19 – Prince Edward, ON – Sandbanks New Waves Festival

AUDIO

Gazelles In Flight by Suuns
2020 by Suuns

TOUR DATES

03/19/16
Azores, PT - Tremor Festival

04/07/16
Ste-Therese, Quebec - Bar Le Cha-Cha

04/09/16
St. Casimir, Quebec - La Taverne

04/15/16
Quebec City, Quebec - L'Anti

04/16/16
Carleton, Quebec - Le Naufrageur

04/20/16
Montreal, Quebec - La Tulipe

04/21/16
Ottawa, Ontario - St. Alban's Church

See all upcoming shows

AGENT CONTACT

US BOOKING
Robin Taylor, Inland Empire
robin@inlandempiretouring.com
(718)389-7100

CANADIAN BOOKING (Ex-Quebec)
Adam Countryman The Agency Group
adamcountryman@theagencygroup.com
(416) 368-5599 x 3239

QUEBEC BOOKING
Andre Guerette, The Agency Group
AndreGuerette@theagencygroup.com
office: (514) 940-0616
mobile: (514) 713-6576

Europe/UK:
Belmont Bookings
Bob van Heur
bob@belmontbookings.nl
31 20 61 62 612