Salt Lake City, Utah band I HEAR SIRENS are releasing Stella Mori, their first album in 7 years, on September 18th, and today we’re honored to give you the first hearing of the brand new title-track, along with full track by track commentary (2 other new songs included), and special new music recommendations from three members of the band.
The band has been playing since 2006 and built a strong reputation in post-rock circles before taking a hiatus for several years, and this new record is already garnering a lot of interest from fans of the genre.
Recorded between January 24th – 27th by Wes Johnson at Archive Recordings in Salt Lake City, mixed with Matt Winegar February 20th – 23rd in Austin, TX and mastered by Ed Brooks in Seattle, W, Stella Mori is out September 18th via Post. Recordings (US), Dunk!Records (EU), A Thousand Arms (US), New Noise China (CH).
Trevor: This song started out as just a piano line that Daved put some impromptu guitar noise over, one morning in the studio. It came together very quickly, in an organic and stream-of-consciousness kind of way. Writing music doesn’t often happen this way, at least not for us, so it was really nice.
David: Such a perfect vibe to start out the album. Orsus really sets the mood for the listener.
Daved: For In Tenebris we had this vision of an astronaut exploring deep space. His ship is about to be destroyed. He finds an escape pod, and shoots off into the unknown. He later discovers his escape pod has been damaged as well, and it will not keep him alive for long. The outro of the song is him coming to terms with the fact that he is about to die.
David: Love the guitar intro which really seems to capture the dark mood of the song. The synth and drums fit in nicely to hold it together. One of my favorites on the album.
Trevor: This song is a fun one, because I convinced the others to let me go full synth-mode. I didn’t really have to convince them, but it is a bit unique for this band I think.
Daved: Ad Caelum is the same astronaut.. A combination of him as a child dreaming of exploring space and him as an adult reaching his dreams. Not knowing it will be what eventually kills him. We shot a music video for this track. It follows that same storyline with some added dimensions.
David: Love how much this song reminds me of Black Metal. The synth with the guitar is like a wall of noise attacking your senses with so much beauty. The way this song starts out is something that we’ve wanted to do for quite some time. It’s definitely a different style of structure than most post rock songs today. I really feel that the video for the song makes the whole thing come to life.
Trevor: We all agree that we like how this one comes out swinging. I personally like how it alternates between dense guitar and strings noise, and more sparse and mellow instrumentation. The video shoot was a first for us and was a really enjoyable experience. We traveled to Southern Utah, which offers really beautiful vistas and a perfect setting for the story we wanted to tell.
David: I really like how the song captures such a beautiful melodic mood during the first half, and gets pretty heavy and chaotic after the bridge. It reminds me of when something beautiful in your life is taken away by chaos. I love the piano line in this song and how it takes me places.
Trevor: When I think of this track, the first half has this regal kind of vibe. It’s kind of serious, proper and “royal” in a way. And then the last half is the sound of the kingdom being destroyed or dismantled, as all eventually are.
David: I really wanted a song that took off on drums from the first hit and didn’t really let up until the end. The guitar intro with bass and synth set up the drums perfectly. The outro piano line really closes out the song giving it the desired closure. This song has so much ear candy that, at times, it’s almost overwhelming.
Trevor: When I came into this band a bit over 2 years ago, this song was mostly fleshed out. Eric, the previous keyboard player, had written some really beautiful and impactful lines that I wanted to carry on.
Burden of Memory:
Daved: Burden of Memory is essentially the romanticizing of a relationship that, deep down, you know is toxic. You need to let go, but you’re holding on to an idea of this other person that isn’t reality.
Trevor: I have always been fascinated by the way low end can add punch and warmth to music. It is subtle, lurking in the shadows. But, if you take it away, you can tell something is missing. As a last minute idea in the studio, we decided to add some Moog synth bass to this track. And, now the idea lives on in our live setup.
David: So many catchy layers of instruments during the intro. We were lucky to have our friends from the band Hoofless perform cello and violin on this song. It was such an amazing experience to watch them add these layers. It really brought out the emotion of what we were trying to capture.
Rise + Fall:
Daved: Rise + Fall was originally written in 2014 for a documentary about the 1990 Colgate University Men’s Ice Hockey team. The team quietly rose from obscurity to challenge perennial powers for college hockey supremacy, but fell short of a championship in the end. I think this track illustrates that pretty well.
Trevor: This is one of the songs that was pretty well laid out when I joined the band. I added a slightly sinister strings line to it, which I feel brought the song more in line with the overall mood of the album.
Daved: Stella Mori is about the loss of a hero or loved one. Almost a celebration of their life.
David: This is my favorite on the album. It’s a song that really hits me in the feels! Having lost someone who was extremely special and close to me in my life. For me, It’s about loss and moving forward so you can learn to celebrate that person. A perfect song to close out the album! The finale floors me. So much emotion, closure with loss, and how to cope with it. All these emotions conflicting together yet they seem to stay balanced enough to hold it all together.
Trevor: This song presented to us the exciting challenge of controlled chaos in music. The finale brings the listener the thrill of a song on the brink of falling apart, but proving triumphant in it’s resolve to reach the end. To me, it almost feels like a panic attack. But, as anyone who has spent time in a therapist’s office knows, there is real healing in being exposed to your fears in a safe environment and surviving.
Asked about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their touring schedule, as well as their local music community, the band commented:
“We would actually be on tour right now, working our way from Salt Lake City toward Indianapolis, where we were super excited to play Post. Fest. From there, we were planning to continue to other parts of the country further East and North. We are planning to, hopefully, do some form of this in 2021, pandemic willing. We would of course also love to go overseas, but that may need to be put on hold even further.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we had to cancel practices for at least 2 months in the beginning of it all. We tried to do a practice remotely a grand total of one time, and quickly decided to get back into our practice space (masked up, of course). We continue to practice masked up and hand sanitizer at the ready.
The impact on our local scene is surely similar to the rest of the country and world. Shows are just barely starting to come back and are certainly not orchestrated in the same way. There have been some creative solutions, like a bike tour with artists set up outside along the route. It would seem these types of gigs aren’t well suited for loud rock bands. As such, we are still eagerly waiting for our own return. We like all the live stream sets everyone started doing. It’s a way to see our pals play live like we’ve never seen before.”
EXTRA: 2020 new music picks:
Spook The Horses – Empty Body
Love Addict – Sugar High
Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still
George Clanton & Nick Hexum – s/t
Hum – Inlet
The American Dollar – Lofi Dimensions
Mogwai – Zero, Zero, Zero
Barrens – Penumbra
Still Motions – Mirrors
Folian – Blue Mirror