“Department Of Blood” By Activity
Activity release their new album Spirit In The Room on August 4th via Western Vinyl (Wilder Maker, Photo Ops). The full-length was Produced by Psychic TV’s Jeff Berner, the album is described an emotional seance held through an unearthly haze of menacing trip hop, ambient electronica, and synth-based noise rock. The lead-single “Department of Blood” is paired with a video that Activity’s Travis Johnson (formerly of Grooms) filmed while working a highly secretive and bizarre contract job on Staten Island. A haunting lament over the omnipresence of technology and surveillance in the modern world, the new single “Where The Art Is Hung” arrives alongside an equally eerie, Eric Xandra Thirteen (they/them) directed video filmed in an abandoned school in Pennsylvania. Activity’s Jess Rees (guitars/vocals/keys), who takes lead vocal duties on the new song, explains more about the track: “This song is a response to being simultaneously comforted and creeped out by the practical inability to escape from being watched.”
Spirit In The Room was written and recorded during the pandemic, “to keep from losing our minds”, Johnson explains. The 11-song set–also featuring tracks sung/written by Rees and Bri DiGioia (bass/vocals)–ultimately reflects the band’s deep anxiety about the modern world while simultaneously displaying their immense gratitude and—believe it or not—joy. As Rees describes it, “One moment it’s bottomless shearing chaotic noise, and the next it’s a sweet melody. Sometimes at the same time.”
“Unlike the first album, where we’d barely played live before we recorded, we got to take some of the less electronic songs out on the road in the fall of 2021,” Johnson explains. “Some tracks had been incubating for over a year in our rehearsals. We could feel them change and open up in a live setting, so when we got back home, we went back to the drawing board on a lot of them. Some got scrapped altogether and we haven’t played them since. You get an idea in your head of what it is, but it’s something else when you’re trying to hold other people’s attention. Every part needed to feel earned or necessary.”
Pre-order Spirit In The Room by Activity HERE
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