On their sophomore record, White Hot Moon, Michigan quartet Pity Sex take all of the elements that made its predecessor, Feast of Love, so endearing and fine-tune them. The guitars still buzz and roar, but there’s a greater dynamic range. The heartbreaking “Plum” starts soft and tender, Britty Drake’s voice standing stark against a skeletal guitar, but it gets stormier as it goes on; the title track boasts the kind of grinding riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Dinosaur Jr. record. Throughout, the band is more confident and more assured, and White Hot Moon is a document of a band coming into their own.
In advance of its release on Friday, you can pre-order White Hot Moon this week for just $5.00. Given that the band has described White Hot Moon as a “collaborative” work, we asked each of the members of Pity Sex to share a story behind one of the album’s songs.
Brandan Pierce on “Wappen Beggars”:
In the early winter of 2013, we toured with Self Defense Family in what could only be described as the worst four days you could possibly try to tour in the midwest. Correction: three days, technically, since we cancelled the first show after almost sliding off of a bridge. I am positive we never drove over 45mph, that’s how bad the roads were. However, the payoff at each night was getting to see Self Defense Family crush it. I was really influenced by their driving bass, as well as [the group] Land of Talk while we were writing the song. I remember running through the intro a few times when we first were feeling it out and saying to myself, ‘I can’t wait to play this live.’
Brennan Greaves on “Nothing Rips Through Me”:
To me, this is one of the most intense songs on the record—both lyrically and musically. I was listening to a lot of Ovlov, and it made me want to have a really wailing and driving outro. I ended up buying myself a cheap slide to incorporate the diving notes at the end, right before wrapping up our time at the studio. There is a heaviness and unease throughout that I don’t think I realized was there until we were listening to the first mixes that Will put together. To me, it’s a song about seeing the world in another person and not knowing if its a world you could ever reach.
Britty Drake on “Plum”
‘Plum’ stands out to me for obvious reasons, so I won’t spend too many words explaining the sentiment behind it. It’s a song I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I waited because It needed to be perfect. It needed to convey the sinking feeling of seeing the plums my dad bought for my mom still sitting on the kitchen counter after we returned home from her funeral. I wanted to translate that hyperspecific moment into a broadly understood feeling. Once I decided this would be that song, it didn’t take long to complete it.
Sean St. Charles on “White Hot Moon”
Summer 2014. In the course of a few weeks, I exited a long-lasting relationship and moved, for the first time, into a living space that was only my own. Ann Arbor is a college town and as such it’s pretty common for students to sublease their apartments for the summer months. I rented a makeshift studio—it was really just a cabin lean-to attached to the outside of a big, old house which was broken down into a dozen small apartments. My apartment only had a screen door, which opened directly to the lawn. It felt more like camping than residing. Every day, I would get out of work in the early evening, then walk home and spend the night sitting, reading, cooking, scrubbing the mold out of the bathroom—always the same routine and almost always alone.
The song—and consequently the record—for me, is fixated on the way mindless moments seem so strange when viewed from a distance. That interplay between the mundane and the magical is at the heart of it. In the song, I tried to blow up those weird little moments and make them something bigger, whether funny or perverse or whatever. In my miniature world I realized how many thoughts go into a single day, how no one could know all of mine and I could never know anyone. There’s something pleasantly unifying in that.