Capping off a remarkable year for the band and with a fresh batch of UK and European dates about to kick off, The Twilight Sad return with a duo of new songs today. 'Rats' and 'Public Housing' - both available to stream right now with a AA-side 7" single coming in December (limited to 1000 individually stenciled copies) - mark the band's first new material since the release of their much loved fifth album, IT WON'T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME, on Rock Action in January of this year.
The album was released to both critical acclaim and commercial success, marking a new high in the beloved Scottish band's trajectory to date. A first Top 20 album for the band, it peaked at number 17 in the Official Albums Chart while coming in at number 1 in the Vinyl Chart and the Scottish Album Chart. Press was just as exclamatory about the record with rave reviews coming in from the likes of The Guardian, NME, Q, The Independent I, Drowned in Sound, Clash, DIY, Loud and Quiet, and more. 2019 has seen the band tour far and wide, from East Asia to North America - as well as more dates with their friends The Cure, including their first-ever Mexican show tonight in Mexico City - with this latest run of UK and European dates culminating in their biggest two UK headline shows ever: Nov 23rd at London's Kentish Town Forum and Nov 30th at Edinburgh's Usher Hall - a worthy celebration of a band who've always put their artistic identity and music first.
What better way to round off 2019, then, than by the band returning with these two new songs - written for the IWBLTATT sessions - that find them at the cathartic, unreserved peak of their powers and that hold a special place in the DNA of the album they were written for.
"'Rats' was in the first of demos - along with 'Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting' and 'The Arbor' - that paved the way for developing the sound and direction we wanted to take the album in," explains the band's Andy MacFarlane. "We were trying to capture more of the chaotic live sound of the band and condense it into three minutes." It's something the band achieves flawlessly: these are two tumultuous, towering songs that will easily find a place in the heart of anyone who's witnessed their peerless live show.
Listen to 'Rats' - BELOW:
"As the recording process [for IWBLTATT] progressed, we could tell that these two songs were a little different from the rest of the album," recalls frontman James Graham. "To me they felt heavier and lyrically they came from a place of complete despair. They started to stand out on their own separately from the album. They were songs we really liked and they weren’t just off cuts from the album either - we wanted them to stand on their own. So we felt like a 7” double A side single was the release the songs deserved. The two songs feel linked to me, one has no hope and the other is reaching out looking for some good in people/myself/the world."
Listen to 'Public Housing' - BELOW:
Delving into the lyrical process behind the songs, Graham continues: "'Rats' doesn’t have much hope; it’s from a dark place. It was written on a dark day for me personally. I think that’s quite obvious with lines like “all you love is dead.” It's also a reaction about a mindset I think is very dangerous in our society: the attitude of “just get on with it” and that talking about your feelings or insecurities can be seen as a weakness. I think it’s a major problem taking that approach towards young men especially - the term “man up” being a horrible example. The line “don’t take it to heart” represents this. Knowing that attitude exists all around you when you are struggling makes you feel very alone. These songs are bleak but writing them helped get me out of a bad place in my head."
While The Twilight Sad's music has frequently offered a sense of catharsis and escapism for Graham over the band's 16-year tenure, it's testament to its power and universality that they find themselves reaching a bigger audience than ever before in 2019: a year they've made unmistakably their own.
'Rats'/'Public Housing' is available digitally now and from December on AA-side 7" vinyl via Rock Action.
Oct 8th | Mexico City, MX - Foro Sol&
Oct 16th | Dublin, IE - Button Factory
Oct 21st | Newcastle, UK - University Student Union*
Oct 22nd | Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
Oct 24th | Paris, FR - Petit Bain*
Oct 25th | Borgerhout, BE - Trix*
Oct 26th | Amsterdam, NL - London Calling Festival
Oct 29th | San Sebastian, ES - La Cripta Convent Garden*
Oct 30th | Madrid, ES - Sala Cool*
Oct 31st | Barcelona, ES - La Nau*
Nov 2nd | Milan, IT - Serraglio*
Nov 3rd | Zurich, CH - Bogen F*
Nov 5th | Vienna, AT - Porgy & Bess*
Nov 7th | Warsaw, PO - Hydrozagadaka*
Nov 8th | Berlin, DE - Gretchen*
Nov 10th | Stockholm, SE - Slaktkyrkan*
Nov 11th | Oslo, NO - Vulkan Arena*
Nov 13th | Copenhagen, DK - Vega*
Nov 15th | Hamburg, DE - Mojo Club*
Nov 16th | Cologne, DE - Club Volta*
Nov 17th | Frankfurt, DE - Zoom*
Nov 23rd | London, UK - O2 Kentish Town Forum*
Nov 24th | Manchester, UK - O2 Ritz*
Nov 30th | Edinburgh, UK - Usher Hall*
* = w/ Man of Moon
& = w/ The Cure