Dan Luke and the Raid's "Black Cat Heavy Metal" and "Last Goodbyes" Show Off Their Infectious Indie Rock (premiere + interview)
Lo-fi, garage rock, and '60s pop influences abound on Dan Luke and the Raid's debut album, Out of the Blue. Hear "Black Cat Heavy Metal" and "Last Goodbyes" ahead of the 11 October release.
Produced by bandleader Daniel Shultz's brother Bradley (Cage the Elephant), the album features of a series of songs that seem informed by the latter-day punky pop of the Strokes, the lo-fi pop energy of Guided By Voices, and the pure pop of the late 1960s. The music proves incredibly spontaneous, feeling as though it's still being committed to tape as we're listening.
Out of the Blue was scheduled for release earlier in the year but temporarily delayed after the death of guitarist Dylan Graves. The band recovered, moved forward and now present two songs from the LP, "Black Cat Heavy Metal" and "Last Goodbyes". Indicative of the album's direction "Black Cat Heavy Metal" is, according to Schultz, "The pinnacle of the record lyrically. The theme of that song is the theme of the whole album."
As for "Last Goodbyes", its lyrical and musical poignancy are honest representations of loss on the road to making the album a reality. "Anthony [Joiner, bass] and I both went through breakups in the same week, Anthony's grandmother passed away, and our friend Kat passed away all while we were recording. He wrote the rhythm guitar, and I wrote the lyrics and melody."
Schultz recently spoke with PopMatters about the origins and evolution of Out of the Blue.
When did this material first start coming together?
I started writing Black Cat when I was 18, so about six years.
Your brother produced the album. Did you have a lot of conversations about the aesthetics or did he have a handle on what to do from the start?
We all worked on the feel of the record together. All of the ideas together made something all separate from us individually.
I imagine that some people will refer to it as "lo-fi" because of the distortion and so forth, but it has a lot more sonic depth than a lot of those records.
We love that lo-fi sound, but we're all really into catchy '60s pop melodies. Brad brought a lot of experience we didn't have to the table.
I really love "Exoskeleton", not just because it's one of my favorite words and one of my favorite quirks of nature, but because of that fast, clean guitar figure and the bass line in the intro. Then the vocals kick in and it's pop heaven.
We were sound checking for another song, just goofing around. Brad told Jeremy, the engineer, to press record to save it. I wrote the lyrics that night, and we recorded it the next day.
"Fool" has a wonderful emotional quality to it with that buzzing, surf-y guitar stuff.
That was another one I wrote around five years ago. I was super into the Smith Westerns, and the Strokes, so I was very melodically driven. Brad had a lot of weight in the production of that one.
"Golden Age" feels like it could be part of a Spaghetti Western at the start, then it moves into this waltz-y part. It's kind of a four-minute prog song that's not really prog.
That was another soundcheck song. We were recording a demo EP at our friend Billy's studio, Thunder Sound. In the middle of us recording, Brad buzzed in, "Go to 6/8!" [Laughs.]
Your guitarist, Dylan Graves, was killed earlier this year. When you think about his contributions to the band—and this album—what comes to mind?
He was a genius. He played so much on the record, and we're so glad to have his parts as a memory. It's such a blessing in the midst of such a terrible life event.
How long did it take for you to figure out how to move forward without him?
We knew immediately he would want us to keep going, but we needed to take about a month to recover. It was the hardest thing we've ever gone through.
What do you hope listeners take away from this album?
That it's OK to express your problems. You don't have to sweep it under the rug and tell yourself everything is okay. Sometimes life sucks, and sometimes it's your fault. It hurts. You just have to turn away from your ways, but know that you can be free to talk about it.