With the release of Why?’s new single, one can expect a shift in tone for the forthcoming album Alopecia. Last night, they played at LA’s Spaceland part of a 3 date California mini-tour to celebrate the release of their new single The Hollows. At the show (and via the Anticon store) you could purchase the 12 inch which officially releases Tuesday the 27th. The vinyl features The Hollows and a remix by DNTEL of the unreleased “By Torpedo Or Crohn’s” The flip side features fey-rockers Xiu Xiu covering Elephant Eyelash’s “Yo Yo Bye Bye” and Half-Handed Cloud doing a medley of Why? tracks curiously titled “Pre-teen Apocalyptic Film Acting.”
At the show, they held the single off till the end of a set that was comprised almost evenly of new and old tracks. For the song, they shuffled around the tiny stage to a new configuration. Yoni moved to the keyboard rig that Doug McDiarmid had spent the set behind and suddenly looked tiny in comparison. Josiah brandished a bass guitar and multi-tasked drum duty during the song.
The song’s spooky stomp seems to signal a shift from the mournful Yoni to an angrier one. The Hollows has a delightfully dark linear build, peaking with angular explosion of guitar that coincides with Yoni recounting some European misadventures. The hard jangly peak lasts only seconds but it represents a stylistic break. Such harshness is strange for a Why? song. Much, if not all of Elephant Eyelash had a softer edge, even the moments where he dipped into intensely dark feelings, it was guised in a certain sorrow. The Hollows, however, feels more like like angry sex.
His lyrical work is still as interesting as it ever was. Yoni’s hip-hop/spoken word background has always leaned him toward a particularly unique place, especially within in the pop context of the music. I think only he could take stumbling upon a gay couple fucking in public and with his style of writing turn it into such an interesting moment of a single.
Much of the other new material played at the show seemed to carry a more aggressive tone, digging into the darkest part of Yoni’s coffer of memories. Hearing new work live is always a mixed bag, especially knowing how each song will inevitably grow and shift into the final recorded versions. We’ve got about 4 months till the new album is released, so patience is necessary, but if the show was any indication, it’ll be worth it.
Alopecia will be released on March 11th 2008.