Purr began in 2017 as the second project from New York City born, raised and forever-based songwriting partners Eliza Barry Callahan and Jack Staffen. Today they announce the debut album Like New, produced by Jonathan Rado (Weyes Blood, Father John Misty, Whitney, The Lemon Twigs) which will be released on February 21, 2020 via ANTI-. Along with the news the duo have shared a video for the track In the clip, Eliza sees Jack outside a Chinatown window and with the flip of a coin, the reality of the city is blurred with a surreal daydream sequence.
Like New was written in the band’s basement studio in downtown Manhattan, a repurposed storage space beneath a restaurant in the building where Callahan once lived as a young child—thanks to the goodwill of the very last kind landlord in New York City. In the territory of a New York City upbringing, Callahan sites her late close friend and old next-door neighbor, whom she met on the sidewalk when she was eight, the jazz guitarist Jim Hall, as her primary influence in music and life.
Purr on their new album:
“We wrote the songs that make up this album at the outset of a transitional and particularly uncertain moment in our lives. That early twenties tide change. New patterns took hold as we tried to hang onto old ones. The songs each have their own stories — but at the time they were collectively written, we were dealing with a push and pull between dependence on and independence from people we love, and coming to terms with our own self-expectations. We were resisting and (sometimes) accepting of the inevitable changes in our relationships and friendships, a moment, a specific and strange time in our lives…and, of course, in this… world. That thread was just naturally pulled through the songs.”
While the is band heavily rooted in New York City, the album was recorded at Rado’s East Los Angeles studio with and takes on a distinctly west coast feel which glows with a sunny warmth, whirrs with breeziness and is at times a little noir too. As Callahan and Staffen were working on the album opener “Hard to Realize,” they couldn’t stop hearing tubular bells in the full swell of the chorus. They rented a set from a nearby drum shop, only to learn upon their delivery that they were the exact bells used in the soundtrack for the 1933 classic, King Kong. As Hollywood ghosts swirl through Like New, Callahan and Staffen’s voices knit together forging at times what can eerily sound like one voice.
11/21 – Brooklyn, NY – The Sultan Room