As Sombear, Minneapolis electro-pop artist Brad Hale has only released a handful of songs. Still, with less than a full year under the project’s belt, he’s accomplished quite a bit: he was a finalist in the Bon Iver, Bon Iver remix album contest, reworked Tegan and Sara’s “Closer” for an RSD single, and put out a split 7″ with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla. (All while playing drums in the band Now, Now. Not too shabby.) On July 23rd, he’ll keep up the hard work with the release of his debut full-length, Love You In The Dark, via Walla’s own Trans- Records.
Despite his inspired schedule, Hale has struggled with his role as an artist, dating back to high school and his secretive love for house music, Britney Spears, and ‘N Sync. “I have a hard time being confident and sharing my music with the world,” Hale said in a statement. Part of it probably stems from middle and high school where I felt like I had to hide from people all day long to avoid anything embarrassing. This whole process has kind of been a personal test. I needed to figure out if I could actually make a record. These songs were meant to kick me in the ass.”
As the first step in the highly-personal process, Hale’s unveiled the album’s title track. Amid the pulsating drum machines and barrage of airy effects, he readily separates himself from the pack with just a few simple flourishes. His heavily-vocodered singing is as emotionally cold and distant as it is joyous and playful. Even his lyrics are refreshingly abstract (“I can’t love you when you look so smooth, like the moon in the daylight”), making the effort all that more nuanced and organic. Listen in below.