The Washington D.C. post-dance-punk band Light Beams have just announced their new album titled Wild Life will be released on November 3rd via legendary independent label Dischord Records in partnership with the band’s own imprint Mud Memory. Along with the album announcement news, the band have released the lead single “Coming Our Way” across all digital platforms. The single arrives accompanied by a music video, premiering today via New Noise Magazine, which can be seen HERE.
The album is the band’s first recorded output since expanding from a trio to a five-piece, with the addition of Leah Gage and Erin McCarley on vocals, percussion, and samples to augment Sam Lavine’s eplosive drumming and Arthur Noll’s bass. Thematically, Wild Life is an exercise in processing Light Beams vocalist/bandleader Justin Wm. Moyer’s experience covering protests, demonstrations, and ultimately the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol as a journalist on a Pulitzer Prize-winning team documenting the violent, chaotic, and horrific experiences of that day.
Lead single “Coming Our Way” is as if Gang Of Four had their guitars removed and swapped them for timbales and rototoms.
Wild Life is available for pre-order now, and “Coming Our Way” is streaming across all platforms.
“Coming Our Way” frankly addresses a school shooting that Moyer’s daughter survived. Painted against a backdrop of pandemic America’s years-long chaos and anxiety, Moyer received a phone call from his daughter that someone was firing at students from a makeshift sniper’s nest across the street. He reflects on the ordeal:
“I was in my backyard about to pick up my daughter at school one day when I heard what sounded like machine-gun fire. I didn’t think much of it – D.C. is filled with loud sounds. A few minutes later, my daughter called and said someone was shooting at her school. I tried to explain that the city is filled with sounds and that no one was targeting her school. As later became clear, I was really, really wrong: for reasons that still haven’t been explained, a person set up a “sniper’s nest” at an apartment across from her school and fired, striking a student and a security guard, among others. No one was killed but the sniper, who died by suicide.
Once I got to the school to pick my daughter up, I entered a sort of fugue state. I didn’t understand the severity of the incident and started sending pictures and “feeds” – little bits of reporting – to my editor. Meanwhile, my daughter was stuck behind a police barricade taking shelter in a CVS. But she seemed safe, so I kept wandering around in a journalistic capacity, trying to figure out what happened so I could help my colleagues write a story about it. After about an hour, I was like: ‘I guess I should, y’know, find my child.’ So I found a way around the police barricade and retrieved my daughter from the CVS to which she had fled.”
Wild Life is a collection of vignettes of post-Trump life that also serves as a grand exploration of our world at large. The compulsion to tease meaning out of the everyday is the cornerstone of Light Beams aesthetic. This is music that reaches towards the unknown, searching for a future for punk in a new century. As Moyer puts it: “I can’t just do another guitar band after the genius of Beyonce and Rihanna.” Successive generations experience paradigm shifts in music creation; be that home recording, sampling, or sequencing. By offering “block rock” – the band’s name for its sample-based approach – Light Beams carves its own path, juxtaposing dark, lyrical themes against upbeat, polyrhythmic, danceable music. The resulting album is a dauntless exploration of contemporary American life and the most ambitious, fully-realized Light Beams outing yet.
Light Beams will embark on a November tour in support of the album. The full dates are below:
11/1 Cleveland OH at Beachland Ballroom
11/2 Detroit MI at Donovan’s
11/3 Chicago IL at Cafe Mustache
11/4 Madison WI at Communication
11/5 Cincinnati OH at MOTR
11/10 Brooklyn NY at Main Drag
11/17 Charlottesville VA at Visible Records
11/18 Washington, DC at Comet Ping Pong
11/19 Richmond VA at Banditos