You know that delightful, intoxicating and ultimately stressful feeling of holding onto a particularly delicious secret? Well today we’re free of the burden of secrecy. Kane Strang has announced his new album, Two Hearts and No Brain, out June 30th on Dead Oceans (that’s us!). We’ve had it on high rotation in the office and we’re ecstatic you get a taste of it today. That’s right! Along with the announcement he’s sharing the new single, “My Smile Is Extinct.” It’s the follow up to lead single, “Oh So You’re Off I See,” his first taste of new music since 2016’s Blue Cheese, which was shared ahead of Kane’s first ever North American tour last month.
Recorded in his hometown of Dunedin at the notoriously haunted Chick’s Hotel studio, Kane teamed up with producer Stephen Marr from trip hop group Doprah for Two Hearts and No Brain. The collaborative result is a razor sharp blend of intelligent alt-rock, bearing the signatures of grunge/alt rock swiftly executed with careful, meticulous precision over 11 tracks. Marr’s influence brings a pristine, retro-futuristic sheen which complements Strang’s perfectionist recording style, sharp melody, and verbose lyrical neuroticism. Taking to well-worn subject matter (heartbreak, loneliness, family) with a disarmingly frank scalpel, Strang’s wryly deadpan lines never miss a beat – the results often sardonic, and always captivating.
Two Hearts and No Brain is pure pop genius from start to finish. It’s hard to imagine who else could convincingly fuse fuzzy synths with slide guitar; crunchy chords with chiming vocals in such a kaleidoscopic pop vision. The album’s cover art, featuring a refracted analogue photograph taken of Kane atop of a rocky precipice; echoes the spirit of lean guitar-pop shining through a truly contemporary, innovative lens. His attention to detail shows up the fat slack present in the work of many of Kane’s contemporaries; yet his sound remains emotive and playfully laced with a tongue-in-cheek nostalgia – timelessly old and new in the same breath.
What sets Kane apart from the rafts of DIY indie songwriters is a willingness to push further. Having mastered the lo-fi aesthetic, he’s stretched his already limber songwriting legs and production chops to new unexpected spaces on Two Hearts and No Brain. Kane’s vision of extending his sound far beyond the bedroom promises international touring and releases the world over. With a live show that exhibits his unpredictable and exhilarating command on stage, Kane’s amassed a band of cohorts to execute his vision with arresting impact, sure to charm crowds with his sideways slant of guitar pop.
Kane Strang’s new video for “Oh So You’re Off I See” is transportive. He and his band bounce back and forth from their practice space, called the Attic in Dunedin, to Central Otago – both in Strang’s home country of New Zealand. For all intents and purposes they seem largely unaware of their gorgeous natural surroundings – I guess that’s what happens when you lock into a groove this good. Throw in a distorted effect made from cuts of glass and you’ve got yourself one disorienting and delightful video.
“Oh So You’re Off I See” is the first single from Strang’s forthcoming album due out later this year on Dead Oceans. Strang’s North American tour kicks off this Friday, March 3rd at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn and takes him to Savannah Stopover, SXSW, Treefort, and more. Strang’s initial SXSW schedule has also been announced. These are his first shows ever outside of New Zealand. A full list of dates is below.
Kane Strang has shared new music for the first time since 2016’s Blue Cheese in the form of “Oh So You’re Off I See.” It’s the first single from the New Zealander’s forthcoming album that he is currently putting the finishing touches on. That record is due out later this year on Dead Oceans.
On “Oh So You’re Off I See,” Strang has moved away from recording in the bedroom to the studio. The song is angular and bright, showcasing his new collaborative approach to recording and writing with his band. The four-piece twists Strang’s melodies upside down and pushes his hooks inside out. We’ve been longtime fans of Strang’s and we’re really excited about having him as part of the DOC family!
Strang’s North American tour kicks off next month at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn and takes him to Savannah Stopover, SXSW and Treefort. These are his first shows ever outside of New Zealand. A full list of dates is below.