PHOTO COURTESY OF NIK VECHERY.
Quiet Hollers, an indie post-punk band from Louisville, contemplates death and other big questions in their upcoming album Amen Breaks (out July 7 via sonaBLAST!). “Wheel”—one of 11 songs on the album, which today we premiere exclusively below—takes this theme to its existential extreme, with lyrics about the fear of a sudden annihilation and anxiety about the meaning of life.
The slow, ambient sound of a Roland CR-078 drum machine leads into frontman Shadwick Wilde’s alternately subdued and soaring vocals. As Wilde sings, “I didn’t wanna die behind the wheel / In my avatar of glass and steel / Trying to collide with something real,” the song gains momentum through guitar and piano harmonies. Culminating with the melancholy sounds of a violin and heavier percussion, “Wheel” expresses the rawness of emotion triggered by what Wilde calls “the finality and randomness” of death.
The lead singer and guitarist cites his experience witnessing car accidents and a dear friend’s suicide as inspiration for the song. “I remember every accident I’ve ever seen so vividly,” he says. “It’s something you think about a lot, obviously. When you’re on tour in the States, your day is dominated by driving.” Despite the track’s dark themes, there is a certain lightness to it—a feeling that came out of the writing process. Taking a break between shows in Iowa, the band stayed in a solitary cabin in the woods. Surrounded by nature and relative quiet, Wilde was able to come to terms with his inner turmoil: “It was one of those songs that came out all at once. In recording it, we tried stay faithful to that nakedness and urgency.”
Emotional honesty and more technical experimentation will be heard throughout Amen Breaks. In particular, Wilde attributes the “analog synth sounds” in “Wheel” to the influence of Ikutaro Kakehashi, a renowned electronic musician and engineer who passed away earlier this year. Besides these sonic additions, Quiet Hollers continues to create in the vein of pensive, indie-rock balladry.
AMEN BREAKS (SONABLAST!) IS OUT JULY 7, 2017. FOR MORE ON QUIET HOLLERS, VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE.