Tag Archives: David Bazan

Slowcore: A Brief Timeline

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Low, photo by Lego.

You could easily argue against the idea of “slowcore” as a genre. Unlike its late-’80s/early-’90s contemporaries in shoegaze and grunge, there was never a geographic focus or self-celebrating scene. Its key bands formed all across the country, rarely toured together, and never seemed to swap notes or compare guitar pedals. There were no formative moments, no Sex Pistols at Manchester in ’76. Nothing close to an ethos.

But, crucially, there is a sound—or, rather, a continuity of sound—a commitment to allowing songs the room to breathe, to stripping things down to their essence before something bigger can be built back up around them. Even when the songs are fast or loud or busy, they never lose that essential clarity, that push toward beauty as its own end. Continue reading

David Bazan Releases an Unlikely Holiday Album, Fifteen Years in the Making

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David Bazan. Photo by Ryan Russell.

Seattle singer-songwriter David Bazan has never shied away from difficult subject matter. He’s tackled infidelity and death, and offered layered commentaries on consumer culture tucked inside catchy pop songs. But no subject has been as deeply explored as Bazan’s spiritual journey. On his early albums with his band Pedro the Lion, he prodded at institutionalized religion from a Christian perspective; then, in 2009, he wrote Curse Your Branches, an album centered around his loss of faith.

It may seem odd, then, that Bazan would deliver something as seemingly sanguine as a Christmas album just in time for the 2016 holiday season. But Dark Sacred Night isn’t exactly a shopping-mall holiday record. It opens with one Bazan original, the somber “All I Want For Christmas,” and ends with the moving “Wish My Kids Were Here,” which could pass for one of Kris Kristofferson’s bleakest tunes. In between those originals are eight holiday standards, new and old, delivered in deeply contemplative fashion and soaked in faraway reverb. It has to be one of the least festive holiday records ever made. To hear its prime architect tell it, that’s exactly the point.

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