Tag Archives: Small Black Limits of Desire

Small Black’s Tour Starts Next Week

Small Black make their way to UK shores next week for a run of dates in support of their new record, Limits of Desire, released earlier this year through Jagjaguwar.

Small Black

Small Black

The band have also followed the highly art-fuelled theme of the record with a new video, this time for uplifting album highlight Breathless.

Directed by Nick Bentgen, the video is a last burst of a summer road trip before the weather turns. The strikingly intimate yet disjointed images run together in a rush of nostalgia. Front man Josh Kolenik says the song itself is about “…feeling free of your own body with the ability to look down at yourself and evaluate.”

You can catch Small Black live next week on the following dates:
7 Oct – Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen
8 Oct – Brighton, UK – Sticky Mike’s
9 Oct – Bristol, UK – Start The Bus – FREE SHOW
10 Oct – London, UK – Sebright Arms

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, News

Small Black Announce UK Live Dates In October and Release New Live Video For Breathless

Following the recent release of their new album Limits of Desire through Jagjaguwar, Small Black announce their first visit to Europe for some time including a string of dates across the UK this October. They have also debuted the brand new live video for their track, Breathless which can be watched below.

Filmed at 285 Kent in Brooklyn and Ovvio Arte in Nashville, with live recording from 285 Kent and footage from Ian Perlman, the video takes you inside Small Black’s energetic and entrancing live show.

Breathless works as a companion to the joint venture between Small Black and Stillwater Artisanal: Small Black Beer. For the second volume of the brewery’s Sensory Series, Stillwater created a black saison bearing the band’s name. The packaging includes a QR code to view the video for Breathless, which was commissioned by Stillwater.

Small Black

Small Black

Brian Strumke, of Stillwater Artisanal, says: “After many listens to the new album we agreed on the track Breathless as inspiration for the beer. The tune instantly jumped out as a summer anthem…Uplifting pads, soothing vocals and a solid 4/4 kick give the song a powerful drive while still maintaining its beauty and elegance. In constructing the accompanying beverage I took a similar direction – a dark black beer that maintains the elegance of the song…And while the beer is black, it’s extremely light bodied…Perfect for those late night summer parties.”

Small Black also recently uploaded a new official video for single No Stranger (below).

Directed by Addison Mehr, the video reveals itself slowly and in surprising ways. Two strangers notice each other on a train but this is not a simple boy-meets-girl story. The “what-if” fantasy (what if I said hello? what if we went on a road trip?) folds in on reality and slowly unravels into wanton destruction and debauchery.

You can catch Small Black on the following dates:
20 Sept Barcelona, Spain – BAM
21 Sept Lisbon, Portugal – Musicbox
23 Sept Paris, France – La Fleche d’Or
25 Sept Lausanne, Switzerland – Le Romandie
26 Sept Luzerne, Switzerland – Treibhaus
27 Sept Offenbach, Germany – Hafen 2
28 Sept Hamburg, Germany – Reeperbahn Festival
29 Sept Aarhus, Denmark – Musikcafeen
30 Sept Oslo, Norway – Revolver
01 Oct Stockholm, Sweden – Debaser Slussen
02 Oct Gothenburg, Sweden – Pustervikbaren
03 Oct Copenhagen, Denmark – Loppen
04 Oct Berlin, Germany – Kantine Am Berghain
05 Oct Amsterdam, Netherlands – The Paradiso
07 Oct Brighton, UK – The Hope
08 Oct Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen
09 Oct Bristol, UK – Start The Bus
10 Oct London, UK – Sebright Arms
11 Oct Brussels, Belgium – Witloof Bar Botanique
12 Oct Lille, France – La Peniche

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, News

Small Black Limits of Desire Review

Small Black are to release their new album Limits of Desire on May 13 through Jagjaguwar. The cover of the album, shot by Dutch artist Scarlett Hooft Graafland, serves as a sort of visual source code for its themes. How are our desires limited and how, in turn, are we limited by them? Featuring a man and a woman embracing on either side of a ladder, the two are completely naked but divided by its triangular span – close but unable to get any closer. It is a moving depiction of modern connectivity and interaction.

Built off the back of 2010’s New Chain and 2009’s self-titled EP, Limits of Desire is a crystallisation of Small Black’s synth-pop sound. Together the four piece, Josh Hayden Kolenik (keys, vocals), Ryan Heyner (guitar, keys, vocals), Juan Pieczanski (bass, guitar) and Jeff Curtin (drums, percussion) have moved past the hazy, bedroom-recorded feel of their previous releases with a refined sound.

Small Black

Four piece synth-pop band, Small Black

This was achieved, in part, with the addition of live drums, electric guitar and trumpet to the band’s sonic palette. Speaking with SPIN recently, Kolenik pointed out these changes saying: “New Chain was hyper-layered collage-y by design and as an artist you always want to fight against what you did last…as you get a little older and more learned in your craft, you want to show everything and not hide behind multiple vocal takes or any sort of haze.”

The tracks are sophisticated and precisely rendered on Limits of Desire. Previous single Free at Dawn appears as track one on the album with their new release No Stranger following shortly behind as track three. The band have recently released No Stranger on the internet. No Stranger is a song that shows the band combining their knack for creating a glorious haze of sound with bigger melodies than ever before. Canoe follows Free at Dawn with a soothing melody and brilliant floating vocals.

Sophie is another mesmerising track which begins with a great beat. Kolenik’s vocals are spot on. His breathy, airy vocals compliment the pleasant drum beat and wonderfully layered synth sounds. The way the chorus ‘So-oo-oo-ophie’ is sung will instantly stick in your head and leave you wanting more. For the first time on the album, the acoustic guitar can be heard clearly giving this song a much fresher feel.

Breathless is a stunner of a track which juxtaposes the sounds heard in the previous track, Sophie. It’s a dance track through and through. It kicks starts straight away, there’s no breaking you in gently here. The chorus, “For a moment/I was/No way/Breathless…” is incredibly catchy. Everything about this song screams summer parties and long sunny evenings. It seems Breathless also caught someone else’s attention…

As ever a band of many facets, Small Black and Stillwater Artisanal have joined forces to release an eponymous beer. For the second volume of the brewery’s Sensory Series, Stillwater created a black saison bearing Small Black’s name. Brian Stillwater, of Stillwater Artisanal, says: “After many listens to the new album we agreed on the track ‘Breathless’ as inspiration for the beer. The tune instantly jumped out as a summer anthem and reminded me of my days as a electronic music producer & DJ. Uplifting pads, soothing vocals, and a solid 4/4 kick give the song a powerful drive while still maintaining its beauty and elegance.

“In constructing the accompanying beverage I took a similar direction – a dark black beer that maintains the elegance of the song. I decided on a base of German malts and a debittered roasted barley to provide more dark colour with very little actual roast flavour. German Hallertau hops are used to create a smooth bitterness and spicy, floral aroma. And while the beer is black, it’s extremely light bodied, fermented with Belgian yeast for a dry, slightly fruity, spicy finish at 5% ABV. Perfect for those late night summer parties.”

Purchase of the beer includes a QR code to view a live video of Breathless. Filmed at 285 Kent in Brooklyn and Ovvio Arte in Nashville, with live recording from 285 Kent and footage from Ian Perlman, the video takes you inside Small Black’s energetic & entrancing live show. For more information visit www.stillwatersensory.com.

The whole of Limits of Desire is a magical, musical journey blending wonderfully layered and produced synth sounds with the fresh, whispered and airy vocals from Kolenik. Second from last track Shook Loves is the perfect example of Kolenik’s vocals which can be heard in all their glory as they stand at the forefront for a change. In Shook Loves, for the first time on the record, the music is stripped back to highlight those breathy yet perfectly pitched vocals. The relaxed vocals mixed with the dance inspired synth sounds makes Limits of Desire an excellent summer album. In every song, there are what seems hundreds of different sounds to be heard with each sound being pushed forward to centre stage at different times. It’s a carefully crafted record. All the songs are great summer anthems and they all deserve to be heard and repeated many, many times over. You won’t be disappointed.

Limits of Desire is available now for pre-order at SC DistributioniTunesAmazon and your local record store.

1 Comment

Filed under Music, News, Reviews

Small Black Announce Exhibition in New York

As a band, Small Black have had the privilege to work with a host of incredible artists for album covers, videos and live visuals. Their song writing is often inspired by not only other musicians and musical works of art but equally so from a wide variety of visual artists and their extended creative community. In order to bring these worlds together Small Black will host an art exhibition, exploring the themes of their upcoming album Limits of Desire at 7 Dunham Gallery, New York.

Curated in collaboration with Lindsay Aveilhé, an Independent Curator and the Research Associate for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings Catalogue Raisonnée, the group exhibition Limits of Desire (so-called after the band’s forthcoming album) will consist of works by 17 artists, working in various media.

Small Black Limits of Desire Exhibition

Small Black Limits of Desire exhibition flyer

Aveilhé says: “Inspired by the title track, Limits of Desire gathers artists whose work confronts or responds to the arbitrary framework of wants or desires upon which we exist, as well as the ways in which we either feel restricted by that framework or we seek to create self-imposed limitations. Each artists presents a unique approach to the theme as manifested through their artistic process, their relationship with materials and in their treatment of subject matter.”

The show will feature works from frequent Small Black collaborators like Morgan Blair, who created the art for the band’s first two albums; Dan Baker, who runs intricate lights shows for the band’s live performances; Agnes Thor, who has frequently photographed the band; and Scarlett Hooft Graafland, who created the striking cover image for Limits of Desire. These are in addition to nationally and internationally exhibited artists Roman LiškaEthan CookAdam KremerPeter RostovskyJen SchwartingLauren LuloffJess Fuller, Joe Baptista, Kim HoeckeleBorden Capalino,Ian SwansonAnna K. Miller, and Austin Nelson.

Small Black Free At DawnOn top of this exciting news, Small Black have also recently released the video for new track, Free At Dawn. The video was directed by Yoonha Park and was inspired by Hollis Frampton’s experimental film from 1970, Zorns Lemma. In Frampton’s film, the alphabet appears letter by letter and is then slowly transformed into representational images. Frampton’s film is part of the Criterion Collection.

Small Black’s video for Free At Dawn uses a similar technique by flashing the letters that make up Free At Dawn and filming in first person  point of view showing footage of crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Shot on 16mm film and with the same camera and lenses that Frampton was likely using, the video is a paean to Brooklyn. Director Park says: “One thing among many that I love about the original film is it’s a very specific time capsule of how New York looked and felt in that precise moment. We wanted to capture our own moment in New York.”

Limits of Desire, Small Black’s new album, is set for release on May 13 via Jagjaguwar.

The opening reception for the Limits of Desire exhibition will take place on Friday May 10 from 7:00 – 10:00pm and will include an after-party DJ set by the band from 10-11pm.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, News

Small Black Premiere Video for First Single, Free At Dawn

Small Black premiered their video for their first single Free At Dawn this week. The video was directed by Yoonha Park and was inspired by Hollis Frampton’s experimental film from 1970, Zorns Lemma. In Frampton’s film, the alphabet appears letter by letter and is then slowly transformed into representational images. Frampton’s film is part of the Criterion Collection.

Small Black Free At DawnSmall Black’s video for Free At Dawn uses a similar technique by flashing the letters that make up Free At Dawn and filming in first person  point of view showing footage of crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Shot on 16mm film and with the same camera and lenses that Frampton was likely using, the video is a paean to Brooklyn. Director Park says: “One thing among many that I love about the original film is it’s a very specific time capsule of how New York looked and felt in that precise moment. We wanted to capture our own moment in New York.”

Limits of Desire, Small Black’s new album, is set for release on May 13 via Jagjaguwar.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, News