two castles – “survive”

– featured image courtesy of serena wagner –

eric charles christenson, our favorite eau claire renaissance man, has blossomed into a formidable producer over the last twelve months.  those are his fingerprints on the latest sniffle party single, and more collaborative examples can be uncovered by patiently following trails of breadcrumbs on twitter.

still a poignant singer-songwriter in his own right, christenson released a new solo track under his two castles moniker last friday, in tandem with “waving.”  the aesthetic of each song is complementary to the other’s, though “survive” is decidedly more glitchy in presentation, owing largely to a skittering arpeggiated motif that’s pitted against a rigid bass line.

the lyrical direction of “survive” teeters into maudlin territory, cycling between a comparatively substantive hook and the simple, gorgeous word-painting of “lavender blue kisses.”  it’s the slightest drop of sadness, a hint of hesitance that feels particularly appropriate at the end of a year like this.  take a listen to “survive” below.

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premiere – sniffle party

sniffleparty
photo courtesy of chris bartlett

sniffle party’s initial arrival last fall felt like a covert operation.  a lone song, “all the snow is gone,” dropped on soundcloud without much fanfare, yet its rubbery bass lines and swirling, reverb-laden vocals evoked a nostalgia that gradually pushed the track outside the parameters of a well-kept local secret.  the project was quickly enveloped under the umbrella of lowkey radical, an arts collective that uses the i-94 corridor between minneapolis and eau claire to shuttle its aesthetic into two key midwestern markets; the song eventually became a precursor to something more substantial.

if witch house truly died and was buried, then sniffle party exhumed the genre’s body and pumped it full of stadium-pop steroids.  serena wagner’s contralto lilts with an affect that straddles melancholic and maudlin across the entirety of her brand-new debut ep, peach dream, rising and falling with the effortless cadence of a sigh.  this decidedly moody, haunting timbre is certainly fodder for eric charles christenson’s production cues, but neo-noir atmospheres occasionally blossom into grand, sweeping gestures, like the cascading synth arpeggios bolstering the hook on “cavalier” and the bubbling undercurrent that pushes wagner into the stratosphere on “wanderer.”

peach dream premieres here on the dimestore, right below this paragraph.  it’s a beautiful collaboration, yet another reason why the collective mindset of lowkey radical has the capacity to resonate far and wide beyond their geographic confines.  this is a soundtrack for sunsets, for reflection, for twilight drives through backcountry roads. dig in.

 

purchase peach dream here.

listen to a new song from two castles

dreamroom_5
photo courtesy of serena wagner

eric charles christenson is slowly carving out a niche for himself, resorbing the lo-fi tendencies of his early work as wisconsin built and sowing their seeds in the glitchy electronica of two castles.  following a pair of strong summer singles – “liquor” and “bonfire” – christenson returned today with “two tuff,” a chilly new cut that arpeggiates freely over reverb-obscured vocals.  as a bonus, fellow lowkey radical member north house jumped on a remix of the track, which was released today as well.  take a listen to “two tuff” below.