Slothrust guitarist and songwriter, Leah Wellbaum, began playing with her band mates— drummer Will Gorin and bass player Kyle Bann— when they were going to Sarah Lawrence College. They were all interested in music’s harsher, more aggressive sounds. The band provided them with an opportunity to pursue that goal. They still play with passion, but on their fifth album, Parallel Timeline, due out on Dangerbird Records on September 10, they take a more measured approach.
“In the past, we made a record by trying to capture the most badass version of our live playing,” Wellbaum says. “We still tried to do that, but left room to explore textures and sonic choices we hadn’t made before. We added some analog and digital techniques. We’re definitely a band that tries out material in front of crowds, but that was not an option on this record, for obvious reasons.”
“We spent a lot more time on demos than we have in the past,” she continues. “It’s an important part of the process, trying songs with different arrangements and production choices, and ultimately settling on whatever serves the song best. It was recorded during lockdown, before we were vaccinated. We followed the COVID cautions and recorded at the studio our record label owns. We made sure whatever protocols everyone was comfortable with were in place. We were distanced and often in different rooms. We did what we could to keep safe. No one got COVID.”
The band put the album together with the help of producer Billy Bush, known for his work with Garbage, Foster the People, and other pop and indie rock heavies.
“We love Billy,” Wellbaum says. “He’s a nice presence and a great person to be in the studio with. He has an amazing ear. He’s also creative and open-minded. He encourages artists to be themselves and come into their own. The album was full collaboration between the four of us. He also produced our last album, The Pact. Prior to that, we produced ourselves.”
Parallel Timeline continues to expand upon the heavy sounds that are the Slothrust signature. There are more subtle touches, but the energy remains high throughout. The most striking difference is the spiritual approach Wellbaum brought to her lyrics.
“I’ve lived my whole life with a sense of searching,” she says. “I haven’t always known what it is I’m searching for, or even that I’m looking for something at all. I’m awake to that reality now and try to embrace it for what it is, an epic quest that will ebb and flow for my entire life.
“This collection felt like it contained premonitions,” Wellbaum continues. “I find that I write songs that frequently connect to external circumstances, long after the fact. I believe everybody has the capacity to access all of their senses. The possibility of clairvoyance is always there. It’s a skill people come into this world with, but some have a more natural ability to access it than others. I do know a lot of people who are effective psychics, but I do not identify as one, per se.”
Watch the video for “The Next Curse” here:
For more from Slothrust, check out their official website.
Photo courtesy of Slothrust and Charlotte Chanler.