Baltimore’s New God are brothers Kenny and Curt Tompkins, who have just released their second album, Firework, on Yellow K Records, and present the following listen to their full-length of electric propelled harmonies. Accompanying today’s exclusive stream, Kenny wrote to us about recording the album in various locations, that included an abandoned racquetball court to find the right harmonics and reverb environments that contribute to the sonic power keg of Firework.
Like witnessing your favorite Fourth of July pyrotechnic light show in real time slow motion; New God begins their album with the titular track, “Firework”. The brothers harmonize against a lo-fi loop backdrop that ignites the mind’s cerebellum, as the big percussive light show is savored for the song’s big finale. More fun with humming loops, and hand-clap holistic-acoustics lead “Demon Chant” like a motley crew of merry pranksters that soon trade their odes to ominous omens for the electric pop and fizz of “Summer Girl”. The “don’t mean anything” refrain amid the fuzzy guitar and hi-hats allude to something greater beneath the surface that may mean something, as “Ocean Hum” updates the Wilson brothers’ “Our Prayer” with clasped hands, before “More” brings found rhythms to a mix saturated in synths that sounds like something fresh from the Ghostly International stable.
Summer crushes are romanticized on “I Know Something About You” that “keep the stars shining in your eyes” in a doe-eyed dossier of assorted love notes along side lists of lyrical descriptions. The Tompkins brothers keep their harmonizations steady on “In a Flash”, where life’s speeds of physics and sciences are pondered on lines like, “And I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s over before it even starts.” Closing the album, “Dumb” strums sublime acoustic tennis court tales of heartache before a brief period of silence reveals a secret song. Electric toy pianos chime away, as Kenny and Curt sing over a tape loop waltz of broken percussive audio static as the Tompkins send the listener out with a soundtrack to enjoy for the remainder of summer, and even after the autumn leaves have fallen.
Kenny Tompkins from New God wrote us the following notes on the making of Firework:
Making Firework was a very easy and natural process. I recorded and mixed it mostly on my mobile rig in many different locations. It wasn’t consciously inspired by anything but we definitely chose the final track listing based on a theme that kept popping up. These songs, in my opinion, straddle the line between technology and humanity. My hope is that they represent the times we are living in. We are grateful for everything we have at our disposal for making music — particularly affordable mobile recording gear — and there are elements to this record that would not have been possible even ten years ago. However, we still want to feel a human heart in the music and have some sort of emotional connection. This is why we blended so many elements of folk music into our sound. We are simple folks and want to make music for real people but we want to use everything at our disposal — i.e. cell phones, laptops, samples, etc.
We have great respect for artists who, in the past, intuitively used whatever was available to them and, in turn, created new forms of art. Dadaism is a great example. Once we had the machines to make printed images, people intuitively just started cutting out these images and building new things from the pieces. This reminds me of our track “Firework”. I got a record from a friend that skipped really bad so I recorded the skipping sound on my phone. Later, I used the sample of the skipping record as the basis for a new song. It is that process of grabbing pieces as you go through life that really feels like where we are in 2014. It is a good feeling. So many possibilities everywhere you look.
New God’s Firework is available now from Yellow K Records.