Week in Pop: Baywitch, Laurel Saints, unhappybirthday

Sjimon Gompers

Stockton sons Laurel Saints, from left, Jose Medina & Marcos Gonzales; photographed by Jameel Rasool.

unhappybirthday

The ever-evolving world of unhappybirthday; photographed by Pau Viñas & Raquel Vargas.

Re-released by the Dutch imprint Wave Tension Records, Hamburg’s unhappybirthday announce the resurrection of their remarkable 2013 album Kraken that established the group as one of the world’s most formidable & important electro-pop acts of understated & expansive influence & taste. Originally received in 2013 througgh Night-People, the new vinyl pressing features artwork from Liz Pavlovic and two bonus tracks that includes our following premiere for “Centauri”. Combining everything you have loved about smart & succinct 80s EU/UK indepenedent pop; unhappybirthday shine a light on a previously unreleased gem that is more than an outtake but rather an usual pop gem that was made well over four years ahead of it’s time and was made possibly to arrive at a later date than now.

Regardless, we present the grand debut for unhappybirthday’s “Centauri” that has all the chops from your underground heroes of yesterday, all the way to the champions of tomorrow that you have yet to discover. “Centuari” is like an obscure lost 80s classic about a romantic centurion growing lonely in the guarding of the empirical grounds that takes a hushed pause to deliver whispers of sentiments expressed like inscriptions on ancient scroll from previous centuries. The Hamburg group channels a love for all those previous scrappy labels of yesterday that signed dreamers that stretched from the jangle twee obsessions to the Balearic botanical rhythmic dance chill take tone & tune. It represents the strengths of one of our globe’s most underrated groups, as unhappybirthday forever continue to crash all of our parties with tunes that change up the party with some frequencies that will immediately oscillate perceptions of both time & era simultaneously. Join us after the following debut listen, for an exclusive interview session with unhappybirthday’s Daniel Jahn.

Describe the thoughts & feelings that would inform the single “Centauri”.

When we’ve been asked to do a reissue of our Kraken EP, we thought about adding some additional tracks from the same period. So we’ve gone through our tape archive and rediscovered two songs, recorded in those autumn days of 2012; one of them is “Centauri”. It’s one of those straight-to-tape explorations, full of hiss, and that crumbly cassette fidelity that we love so much. The lyrics describe a grieving process, that moment when you feel how things are going to fall apart so slowly right before your eyes.

Tell us about what unhappybirthday is working on right now.

At the moment we are exploring the possibilities that come with our new bass player Kim. Forming, dreaming and diving into a new unhappybirthday sound. We are documenting this first transition period by recording new material and working on the next record.

River baptismal with unhappybirthday; photographed by Pau Viñas & Raquel Vargas.

What else are you excited about right now in terms of music, film, literature & more?

Without doing any name dropping here, we’re fascinated with studies on negative space, in literature, movies, and art in general. Instead of the picture, or the story itself, you focus on the room in between, on the edges by leaving out the important stuff, all the significant details. It’s all about the sense that you’re into something without knowing the main motivation.

Hopes for the future of our shared globe?

Seems like ecologically, technologically, and socially, some wild things could end up happening within the next few years. Since all utopia is forbidden, we hopefully can at least civilize capitalism, declare the access to clean drinking water a basic human right, stop all wars, stop manufacturing weapons, start a new age of enlightenment without getting proud and corrupted, all of that. Plus we finally need brain to MIDI!

unhappybirthday’s album Kraken has been re-released on vinyle courtesy of Wave Tension Records.

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