The Living - "Hot Breath" (audio) (premiere)

San Francisco's the Living prep promising debut album, display prog, shoegaze and metal roots on a new track.

San Francisco has long been the home of adventurous music, from the Grateful Dead to Jellyfish, Faith No More and the city’s legendary thrash metal scene. Add the Living to the list of Bay Area bands that defy easy classification but which stimulate the imagination. Broadly a heavy rock with glints of progressive rock apparent, the Living populates new track “Hot Breath” with melodies and rhythms that bring to mind the British New Romantics without losing a scintilla of power. Derek Barnes’ emotionally charged vocals prove as poignant as they are enigmatic; the six-string figures he and fellow guitarist Julian Balestrieri weave are nothing short of masterful.

The song is a strong indicator of what listeners will hear on the quartet’s self-titled debut, due September 22. Rife with hints of shoegaze and pop, songs such as “Delay”, “Deceiver” and “Tied to the Bed” step well outside the current computerized, sterilized sounds of rock, harkening back to the organic sounds one might have heard in the dimming days of the 1980s or the dawn of the 1990s.

“Hot Breath”, the band explains, was a latecomer to the new album. “This was the last song written for the album, and it’s one of the few songs that kicks into gear immediately," the band, rounded out by Jeremy Shepherd (bass) and Jason Zaru (drums), notes. “We finished it about a week before entering the studio, so it was not rehearsed very much prior to recording but turned out especially well. It has so many great parts that stick out to me, from Jeremy's groovy bass line to the chorus to the pitch shifting instrumental section close to the end. We really love the balance of groove and atmosphere. The song was immediately suggestive of a ghostly feel, so I began thinking of people and memories from the past that hovered in my mind and the desperation of trying to shake them. Many people have told us this is their favorite song of ours."

The quartet’s upcoming release may be ordered here.

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