When Portland indie rock/indie folk band Ages and Ages released their last album, Something to Ruin, in the summer of 2016, they were putting music out into a world that still more or less made sense to them. That all changed in November, naturally, when the country turned itself upside down in support of a burgeoning despot, and nothing has quite been the same since. Except, that is, for the musical passion of the band’s “brain trust,” members Tim Perry and Rob Oberdorfer, who met twice weekly to commiserate in a world of woe—and work on new music. At the time, it was just a way to cope—the band calls it “musical group therapy”—but out of those challenges, a new album was born.
“Art is supposed to help get at the root of the human experience and what it’s like to be alive,” Perry says. “And the challenge is how do you make music that confronts these complicated, important and sometimes very dark questions and do so in a way that still bounces around and maintains some level of optimism?”
Ages and Ages answer is their new album Me You They We, which they’re announcing today exclusively via Paste, along with the debut of the song “Just My Luck,” which you can listen to below. It’s the band’s fourth studio album since debut Alright You Restless in 2011, which was followed by Divisionary in 2014 and Something to Ruin in 2016. As with the last two albums, Me You They We is on Partisan Records, set for an April 5 release date.
A “statement of purpose” from the band, Me You They We promises to pull no punches and not shy away from confronting our modern state of ennui. The album was recorded largely at Oberdorfer’s home studio, with occasional guest vocals and appearances, including from the band’s newest member, Lizzy Rose Allen. Perry and Oberdorfer describe their latest effort as one benefiting from slow, methodical work and “complete control over the sessions,” free from the chaos of the street. In the end, they hope the album sparks a sense of resilience and hope.
“We just want to make good music,” Oberdorfer says. “And we want to be real with other people who want to be real. We want to challenge ourselves and our friends to break down barriers as much as we can to lead each other back to sanity.”
To that end, we present “Just My Luck,” a bouncy but slightly macabre sounding track that fills the room with nuanced, ethereal harmonies, spacey keys and the tiniest bit of irresistible xylophone. Perry’s delicate voice is front and center, but it gets some key support from his compatriots as the song swells to its big conclusion, where crashing cymbals put an exclamation point on the proceedings. Oberdorfer notes that the song proved to be something of a bear in the studio, being “discarded and reinvented” 14 times before the final version came together.
Says Perry, of the track: ”’Just My Luck’ is some down home stream-of-consciousness writing that, upon revisiting, seems to address my tendency to sometimes make easy things difficult. I find myself tripping through this mass of cliches, searching for something less disappointing and predictable. It’s the soft surfaces that cut my feet. It’s the easy answers that elude me. And it’s the pursuit of something mysterious and less refined that baits me and keeps me hooked in this hypnotic dance, even when it hurts. But sometimes the truth really is right in front of me. Sometimes it actually isn’t necessary to scrape at the hard earth with my bare hands to get to something more meaningful. So if I can avoid making this mistake, I’m sure as shit going to try. Let’s all try together, eh friends?”
“Let’s all try together” seems like a particularly Ages and Ages-esque sentiment, if you ask us, and we’re happy to give it our best shot. Me You They We is out April 5, 2019 on Partisan Records. Check out the band’s upcoming tour dates below.
Ages and Ages Tour Dates
12 — Redding, CA @ The Dip
13 — San Francisco, CA @ Hotel Utah
16 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Moroccan Lounge
17 — San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
18 — Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
20 — Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
23 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
24 — Boise, ID @ The Olympic
25 — Walla Walla, WA @ Billsville West
26 — Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
27 — Seattle, WA @ Barboza