DIY has premiered Slothrust’s “Milking The Snake” a B-side from their 2016 album ‘Everyone Else’. When talking about the track, lead singer Leah Wellbaum said, “Musically, I was going for a Black Sabbath at the beach situation. Lyrically, I thought about ‘Polly’ by Nirvana and riffed on that. We wanted to share it with everyone as this record cycle wraps up and we move on to writing more new music.”
Slothrust has been touring North America this summer including a performance at Lollapalooza. The band’s most recent album ‘Everyone Else’ is out now on Dangerbird Records and the band has released a wealth of visual material to accompany it. Music videos for “Pigpen”, “Sleep Eater”, “Horseshoe Crab”, “Rotten Pumpkin” and “Like A Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone”, as well as live videos for “Rotten Pumpkin”, “Horseshoe Crab”, “Pigpen”, and the Louis Armstrong classic “What a Wonderful World”. This fall the band will tour the EU & UK with Manchester Orchestra.
Slothrust is Leah Wellbaum (Vocals,Guitars), Kyle Bann (bass), and Will Gorin (drums). The trio first staked out their unique strain of jazz- and blues-afflicted rock as students at Sarah Lawrence College. The band’s 2012 debut Feels Your Pain, and its successor 2014’s Of Course You Do, established the band as a breed apart, serving up deceptively clever epics that veer satisfyingly between incandescent riffing and pop hooks, winsome anxiety and powerful heft.
“People have always had trouble comparing us to other bands, but someone recently described us as Nirvana meets Wynton Marsalis, and I loved that,” says Wellbaum. Even the band’s name inspires a beat of thoughtful consideration as the eyes take in the letters and the brain makes its snap judgement: Slo Thrust? Slot Rust? Slo Trust? Sloth-
We all studied jazz and blues, so I often use chords and voicings that aren’t quite as conventional for contemporary rock,” she continues. “Certain harmonic movement can get stale, so I try to incorporate colorful notes to give it more depth. The improvisational spirit of blues music is also something we try to always keep with us, even in more composed playing. I am drawn to musicians a bit further outside of the rock tradition, such as John Fahey, Elizabeth Cotten, D’Angelo, and Portishead. Growing up I listened to a lot of R&B and classical music. And musicals.”
While Everyone Else clearly shows Wellbaum fulfilling her early promise as a singer, it’s where she hits her stride as a lyricist: Pulling the listener under the surface to explore a submerged world brimming with exotic creatures. Water motifs abound, detailing oddly off-kilter observations about floating, submerging and drowning that are anything but morose. Instead, they contort and reflect worldly truths about life on dry land.
Nowhere is this vision clearer than on the slow burn of the album’s centerpiece track “Horseshoe Crab.” Here, with storm cloud riffs and Will Gorin and Kyle Bann’s perfectly calibrated rhythmic undercurrent, Slothrust erupts in a geyser of emotional and spatial distance, as Wellbaum observes, “I don’t have anything in common with myself, except that I came from the sea, like everyone else did.”
“Like a Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone” opens like some bizzarro world lullaby dispensing sage advice: “Drink seltzer, smoke weed when you can’t sleep. Think about shooting birds, everyone has got a violent streak.” Then, as the guitars explode, the rhythm section dials into stylish, disciplined groove to set up an expansive instrumental break that gently floats to a close with Wellbaum, at peace: “Hold me under the water. My lungs are filling with plankton. But the lake is not lonely. No need for you to come with me.”
Above all the overriding ethos of Everyone Else is its sense of inclusiveness: all people, every feeling, quiet, loud, any time signature. With a snap of the neck the band launches into the hyper-adrenalized “Rotten Pumpkin” with Wellbaum singing in a rapid-fire vomit burst, “I’ll make you sick because I’m soft water. Reach inside of me, and scoop out my seeds.” This midpoint between grunge and art rock is the aesthetic Slothrust elevates: sharp-eyed individualism, serious musicianship, humble intelligence, controlled abandon.
U.S. Tour Dates:
8/08/2017 Toronto @ Horseshoe Tavern ^
8/09/2017 Montreal, QC @ Bar le Ritz ^
8/10/2017 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer ^
8/11/2017 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
8/12/2017 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel ^
8/13/2017 Boston, MA @ Great Scott ^
U.K./EU Tour Dates:
10/21/2017 Manchester, UK @ Academy 2*
10/22/2017 Glasgow, Scotland @ Garage*
10/23/2017 Leeds, UK @ Church*
10/24/2017 Birmingham, UK @ O2 Institute 2*
10/26/2017 London, UK @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire*
10/27/2017 Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2*
10/28/2017 Bristol, UK @ SWX*
10/30/2017 Cologne, Germany @ Gebaude 9*
10/31/2017 Paris, France @ Les Etoiles*
11/01/2017 Brussels, Belgium @ VK*
11/02/2017Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg*
11/03/2017 Berlin, Germany @ Franz*
11/04/2017 Hamburg, Germany @ Molotow*
^ with Tancred
* with Manchester Orchestra