Moaning, the musical effort from vocalist/guitarist Sean Solomon, bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie, will follow-up their 2018 self-titled debut with Uneasy Laughter on Sub Pop Records on March 20. What happens when an abrasive rock trio trades guitars for synths, cranks up the beats and leans into the everyday anxieties of simply being a functioning human in the 21st century? The answer is Uneasy Laughter, the second Sub Pop release from the Los Angeles-based band.
Uneasy Laughter is a collaborative breakthrough which significantly brightens Moaning’s once claustrophobic sound, again abetted by producer/engineer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, Melvins). The trio points to first single ‘Ego’, out now, which features a costume-heavy video directed by Ambar Navarro (Soccer Mommy, Oberhoffer, Anna Burch), as an embodiment of this evolution.
“The lyrics are about letting go of your own bullshit to help other people. Wanting to love yourself to love others. The ego can make you feel like you’re the greatest person in the world or the worst.” stated vocalist Sean Solomon. "It makes you think your problems are abnormally different which is isolating and rarely true. The song is a reminder that listening to other perspectives is important and beneficial to both parties involved."
“Musically, the song was started by repurposing a drum beat made for a different demo and putting it on top of a new synth loop. It was a digital collage where we passed Ableton files back and forth,” added bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson. “We purposely avoided the impulse to add guitars to everything, letting the melodies of the synth and vocals be the focus. We wanted to embrace the songs ability to slip between genre lines.”
Solomon, Stevenson and MacKelvie have been friends and co-conspirators amid the fertile L.A. DIY scene for more than a decade. They are also immersed in other mediums and creative pursuits — Solomon is a noted illustrator, art director and animator, while Stevenson and MacKelvie have played or worked behind the boards with acts such as Cherry Glazerr, Sasami and Surf Curse. On Uneasy Laughter, they’ve tackled challenges both personal and universal the only way they know how: by talking about how they’re feeling and channeling those emotions directly into their music. “We want to be part of a community,” he adds. “I wrote online about being sober for a year, and I had kids from all over writing and asking for advice. One of them said, ‘For the first time I can remember, I didn’t drink last night.’ I thought, for once, maybe we did something besides sell a record. That’s a win. That’s incredibly exciting.”
Uneasy Laughter track list:
2. Make It Stop
6. Connect the Dots
7. Fall in Love
8. Coincidence or Fate
9. What Separates Us
11. Keep Out
12. Saving Face
13. Say Something