Chicago artist Dustin Currier will release his new LP Tender Fits, under the moniker Lightleak via his new record label, Model Love Songs. In addition to a full digital release, the limited edition 160-gram LP contains a 10-page DIY “zine” insert featuring original artwork and photography by Currier and Emily Dupree. Today, he has given us a taste of the album with lead-track “No Icon.”
In between facilitating remote music classes as a public school teacher and working on his other projects Ands and Cut Teeth, Currier utilized time in quarantine to self-produce this remarkable collection—arranging an exuberant brass section atop a bed of wiry, interlocking guitars, keyboards, and rhythm section. But according to Currier, “bringing other people in was paramount to making something that is three-dimensional and really worth listening to,” so he enlisted Chad Clark (Beauty Pill, Dismemberment Plan) to mix the album; Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz, Sad13), Vivian McConnell (V.V. Lightbody), and Krystal Rosenbrock on additional vocals; Seth Engel (Options) on drums; Ben Grigg (Geronimo!) on trumpet; and Logan Bloom on trombone.
Dustin Currier from Lightleak on “No Icon:”
“No Icon” was built entirely around the acoustic guitar parts and was originally written in 4/4—at the start, I was challenging myself to make a simple song with just a couple of parts and a basic frame that would allow for strong vocal melodies and such. But I just couldn’t stand the naked simplicity of it, so I rewrote the riffs to be in 7/4, which made me feel really excited and inspired to flesh it out. The syncopated Wurlitzer part is now the heart of the whole thing for me. And though I may have failed the simplicity challenge just a little, I think it still gives great space for melodies to thrive.
The first few lines of this song (“All of your heroes are assholes now / They’re deadbeats and sellouts anyhow”) had been sitting around in notes app purgatory for quite a while and were obviously inspired by an artist or celebrity being publicly outed for some sort of abuse or misdeeds—though that hardly narrows it down, and I can’t remember who. I was feeling exhausted by being consistently let down by men I’d admired, and it became a thing where it felt like the only choice was to stop idolizing altogether and instead focus on making my own example of how I want to live and create and interact with the world.
I feel extremely lucky to have such talented and tasteful and instinctive players who lent their skills here: Seth [Engel, of Options] understood from day one exactly what I was going for and brought so much life and groove to this song with the drums, both in his performance and engineering of the drum recording; the simultaneous lightness and fullness of Vivian’s [McConnell, aka V.V. Lightbody] voice lend the exact exuberant, choral quality I’d dreamed of, which is doubly reinforced by the ever-dependable brass section of Ben Grigg (trumpet) and Logan Bloom (trombone).”
Pre-order Tender Fits by Lightleak HERE
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