There’s a new song called “Famine Asylum” out from Philadelphia shoegaze band Nothing. It’s the third single released in advance of their upcoming album, The Great Dismal, which arrives in full this Friday, October 30, via Relapse Records.
“Famine Asylum” sounds fresh out of the 90s, mostly due to the alternative rock guitar tone and chords. Some wailing guitar notes compliment the dreamy vocals, and the drumming calmly fits into the 90s homage as well. The song builds a bit as it goes on, and the band plays a breakdown towards the end. It’s less of a wall of sound than the previous singles from the album, but still has a significant focus on atmosphere.
The lead single, “Say Less,” features reasonably quick drumming for the band and a wall of sustained guitars and effects. Domenic Palermo’s low-key vocals float over the instrumental. “Bernie Sanders” has a steadier rhythm section but switches up the guitars between crunchy chords and more atmospheric sections. It was “Originally about being lost in Japan,” according to Palermo, but he said it evolved to something less concrete during writing.
The Great Dismal was recorded during quarantine, according to a press release. Producer Will Yip worked with the band at Pennsylvania’s famed Studio Four. The album deals with some of this year’s favorite topics, “existentialist themes of isolation, extinction, and human behavior in the face of 2020’s vast wasteland.”
Palermo continued to set the scene for the record with some imagery, “The Great Dismal refers to a swamp, a brilliant natural trap where survival is custom fit to its inhabitants. The nature of its beautiful, but taxing environment and harsh conditions can’t ever really be shaken or forgotten too easily.”
With this new record, Nothing will have released an album every other year since 2014’s Guilty of Everything. Their sophomore effort was 2016’s Tired of Tomorrow, and their previous full-length was Dance on the Blacktop in 2018.
Nothing will be performing The Great Dismal in full via livestream on Thursday, October 29, at 9 p.m. EST. Special guest Full of Hell will also make an appearance. Tickets are being sold on the band’s website, and 20 percent of proceeds will support independent venues through NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund.
UPDATE (10/30): Alongside the release of their fourth album, The Great Dismal, today, the band shared a new video for “Famine Asylum.” It was directed by Jordan Hemmingway and stars David Ashby and Ellie Walker. The video shows a man beating someone off-screen with a bat, driving away from the scene and trying to cope with the trauma afterwards.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat