of Montreal have announced a new album, White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood. Following up on last year’s surprise Rune Husk EP and the 2016 full-length Innocence Reaches, the latest effort from Kevin Barnes’ experimental pop project is due March 9th via Polyvinyl.
In a statement given to Stereogum, Barnes said the album was written as he “became ‘Simulated Reality’ paranoid and I fell in LOVE.” As he grew “deeply educated in the lies of America the Great” and overcame the self-loathing that came from his failed marriage, Barnes also took a dive into the extended dance mixes of ’80s pop. “I used that template with these tracks,” he said, “I wanted them all to feel like the extended ‘club edit’ of album tracks.”
To achieve this, he switched from a live band recording approach to remote collaboration, working with Zac Colwell (saxophones, synths) and of Montreal touring members Clayton Rychlik and JoJo Glidewell. Barnes also utilized the same drum sample packs throughout the effort in order to maintain a “strong and consistent identity.”
Our first look at that identity comes in the album’s lead single, the seven-minute long “Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia”. Take a listen:
Update: of Montreal have announced an extensive US tour in support of the album.
of Montreal 2018 Tour Dates:
03/03 – Mexico City, Mexico @ NRMAL
03/10 – Savannah, GA @ Ships Of The Sea Museum (Savannah Stopover)
03/22 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
03/23 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
03/24 – Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry
03/25 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
03/26 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
03/27 – Maspeth, NY @ Knockdown Center
03/28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
03/29 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre
03/30 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
03/31 – Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot Ballroom
04/01 – Kalamazoo, MI @ Bell’s Eccentric Café
04/02 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
04/03 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
04/04 – Des Moines, IA @ Wooly’s
04/05 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
04/06 – Cincinnati, ON @ The Woodward Theater
04/07 – Chattanooga, TN @ Revelry Room
04/24 – Asheville, TN @ The Grey Eagle *
04/25 – Nashville, TN @ Basement East *
04/26 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom *
04/27 – Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar *
04/28 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater *
04/29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *
05/01 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
05/02 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
05/03 – Berkeley, CA @ UC Theatre *
05/04 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom *
05/05 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA *
05/06 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom *
05/07 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister *
05/08 – Fort Worth, TX @ Shipping and Receiving *
05/09 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk *
05/10 – New Orleans, LA @ The Howlin’ Wolf*
05/11 – Memphis, TN @ 1884 Lounge @ Minglewood Hall *
05/12 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn *
* = w/ Locate S, 1
Read Barnes’ entire statement below.
Two important events occurred during the making of White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood. I became “Simulated Reality” paranoid and I fell in LOVE.
Well a lot more happened during the process of writing and recording, but those are the two big ones. I also reached a healthy point of self-forgiveness for my failed marriage and became deeply educated in the lies of America the Great.
I feel like a switch was recently turned on in my brain and now I’m beginning to see through the lies that have been fed to me my whole life by the masters of media and by those who control and manipulate the narrative of our cultural identity and social order.
My paranoia began during the presidential election cycle and reached a dangerous peak shortly after the inauguration. In the meantime I watched and read countless works of art in a mad effort to be reminded of how many truly brilliant people there are living/struggling among us and to try to maintain a positive outlook. The works of Angela Davis, Noam Chomsky, Chris Kraus, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and the Autobiographies of Malcolm X and Mark E Smith were all great inspirations, to name a few.
Musically, I was very inspired by the extended dance mixes that people used to make for pop singles back in the ‘80s. It’s so cool how a lot of the 80’s hits had these really intricate and interesting longer versions that wouldn’t get played on the radio and could only be heard in the clubs. I used that template with these tracks, I wanted them all to feel like the extended “club edit” of album tracks.
I also decided to abandon the “live band in a room” approach that I had been using on the recent albums and work more on my own or remotely with collaborators. I used the same drum sample packs throughout because I wanted the album to have a rhythmic continuity to it. I wanted the drums to have a strong and consistent identity, similar to how Prince’s Linn Electronics LM-1 drum machine played such an important role on his classic albums. Zac Colwell also played a huge role on this album, adding saxophones and synths to most of the songs. I also got a lot of help from long time collaborators, and “of Montreal” touring members, Clayton Rychlik and JoJo Glidewell.
The two title concept came to me when I was thinking about how difficult it is to frame the message of a song with just one title, because so often the songs are about so many different subjects. ‘White Is Relic’ was inspired by James Baldwin’s writings regarding the creation and propagation of a toxic American White identity. I’ve come to learn how it’s just a tool wielded by the 1% to give poor white people a false sense of superiority in an effort to keep the masses placated and numb to how deeply we’re all getting fucked by our capitalist rulers. An ‘Irrealis Mood’ is a linguistic indicator that something isn’t yet reality but does have the potential to become so.
I’m always searching for new identities so this concept of the death of “Whiteness” appeals to me greatly. Might be the only way to save the world.
-Kevin Barnes, January 2018