Published Apr 28, 2013Braids have been plotting the follow-up to their 2011 debut album Native Speaker for some time now, and now the group are finally heading back our way with a new release. The Montreal-based band will release the 12-inch single In Kind // Amends on June 11 through Flemish Eye Records in Canada. This will lead up to the band's sophomore full-length, which is due out this fall.
In Kind // Amends includes two songs from the forthcoming as-yet-untitled album — "In Kind" and "Amends" — plus two exclusive cuts, "Near Enough" and "A Dawn in Me." That's the 12-inch's cover art above.
Speaking with Exclaim!, singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston confirms prior reports that the band are moving in a more electronic direction. "We've totally ditched the guitars," she says. "'In Kind,' on the record, is the only song that has guitars."
Having abandoned their rock band setup, Braids have been using keyboards and building tracks on the computer. "All of us, over the two years that we toured Native Speaker, became really heavily into and inspired by electronic music. We listened to so much of it," the singer recalls. "I still haven't really gone back to more traditional music."
She elaborates on her love of electronic music, explaining, "It's strikingly beautiful. It's very amazing, and to me, it reflects where we have gone to as a human race in 2013 and our involvement with the iPhone and laptops and everybody being interconnected. That's one of the reasons I think that electronic music excites something inside of me."
Throughout the conversation, she name-checks favourite artists like Aphex Twin, Stephan Bodzin, Max Cooper, Pantha du Prince and Burial.
Not only did Braids change their sound, but they experienced a lineup change when keyboardist Katie Lee left the group during the self-produced recording session.
Standell-Preston candidly admits, "We're a lot more focused now on being really honest and open with each other. I feel like when we did Native Speaker and we were doing a lot of interviews, we were always talking about friendship, but we never really felt it that much. I kind of just felt like a bunch of mumbo. It felt like a bunch of talk. [It was] something to talk about in interviews, and we kind of realized at the end of the touring cycle that we weren't friends anymore. We were going on totally different creative paths. One of the dynamics that we try to uphold is being really real, and having a lot of realness in the band and just being straightforward. Creatively, we were just butting heads so much."
She doesn't blame Lee — who appears extensively on the new album — for the struggles, but notes that the band have begun working much much productively on new material. This emphasis on "realness" also comes across in Standell-Preston's lyrics.
"When we released Native Speaker, I was really kind of embarrassed about what I had written," she confesses. "I felt really far away from that person. Since that time, since I was 17 until now — I'm 23 — I definitely became a woman and had a lot of mind-opening experiences. The poems, the lyrics are beautiful and forgiving and honest and more vulnerable. I feel like, with Native Speaker, I tried to project this strong, maybe somewhat bitchy person, and I'm not really like that."
For a taste of the new sound, stream the electronic-leaning "Amends" at the bottom of this page. Also below, check out the band's upcoming tour schedule, which includes Canadian shows in Montreal and Toronto. Except more information about the full-length to be announced in the coming months.
6/11 Montreal, QC - Casa Del Popolo
6/13 Toronto, ON - Arbutus Showcase (NXNE)
6/15 Brooklyn, NY - Cameo Gallery (Northside Festival)