Gothenburg-via-Texas duo Routine Death announce debut album ‘Parallel Universes’
and share the bewitching noise pop of Charm Tooth
Stream ‘Charm Tooth’
Separated by 7,000 miles, Routine Death is the husband and wife duo of Lisa (Gothenburg) and Dustin Zozaya (Austin), the latter also playing in psych-pop outfit Holy Wave. On May 25th, Fuzz Club and Black Hair Records will be releasing the projects debut album ‘Parallel Universes’ – comprised of ten tracks that offer the perfect introduction into their world of dark, lo-fi pop that channels an ethereal darkwave sound with bewitching lo-fi vocals and the glitchy electronics of Broadcast, or even Stereolab.
Having just made their live debut in Gothenburg with support from Chemtrails, the project is now sharing the first taste of ‘Parallel Universes’ with the first single, ‘Charm Tooth’. An insatiable cut that perfectly encapsulates the gloomy, minimalist dynamics to Routine Death’s lo-fi pop sounds, combining repetitive drum-machine, post-punk basslines and dreamy washed-out vocals.
Born out of the distance between the pair is a certain kind of intimacy, the use of cheap equipment – including a five dollar drum machine iPhone app and decrepit barely-salvageable synths – and a creative process that involves constantly sending tracks forwards and backwards over the internet results in a minimalist noise-pop sound that shuns the overbearing sonic-excess that most new shoegaze bands fall victim to, instead stripping things down to the absolute fundamentals. Lisa’s sublimely entrancing vocals float over repetitive midi drumbeats, glitched-out loops, droning organs and fuzzy lo-fi guitars. This separation is a key part of Routine Death’s creative process, as Dustin explains: “Obviously the method of making the music itself is a big part of the record. There’s that separation between us the whole time and that’s a big influence. We don’t work on anything together, we’ll just keep sending things back and forth. The songs mature that way.”
Elaborating on how exactly their creative process works, Dustin cites an unlikely influence in Wu-Tangs’ RZA: “What happens is I write stuff and I send it to Lisa over WeTransfer. She sings over it, sends it back to me and then I tweak the song according to her vocal parts. RZA from Wu-Tang Clan was actually a big influence. I was reading this book that he wrote and what he would do was he’d make this basic beat and then he’d have all the members of Wu-Tang come in and rap on it. Then he would sit there, listen to it and cut it apart and move everything around. So, that way the vocals aren’t just a layer on top, it’s another ingredient.”
Limitations are an integral part of the Routine Death ethos but not just in geographical terms, the lo-fi minimalism they exhibit coming down to the use of cheap equipment. As Dustin explains: “It sounds like really, really cheap gear. I make a lot of the beats on my phone on this little five dollar programme I have, I just put delay on it and run it through an amp. I also use this organ I found in the practice space, it’s totally wrecked. There’s a lot of that shit going on. I’ve started to learn a lot more out of it. It forces me to be creative.”
PRAISE FOR ROUTINE DEATH
“Assured psych-pop that matches extreme dark against shades of pure light… a dense but intoxicating experience.” Clash Magazine
“The band’s love for lo-fi soundscapes, atmospheric tones and distortion shines through, forming a solid foundation for the songs.” Culture Addicts
“In all its lo-fi superiority, the track leans more heavily towards post-punk and darkwave, it is fully goth-tinged, but also winks with devilry at shoegaze and obscure psychedelia. With distortion in full effect, the melancholic, shadowy female vocals complete the dark package, highlighting the tune’s eerie atmosphere, while its stuttering drum beat contributes even more to the listener’s discomfort.” Destroy//Exist
ROUTINE DEATH – PARALLEL UNIVERSES ARTWORK
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