Tape Cassette + Digital Download (Edition of 100)
Atlanta's Highlander returns with their second EP, Weird Future (Out Mar. 10 on Deer Bear Wolf Records). Drawing on a wide range of influences—from gooey ‘60s psychedelia to ‘80s New Wave and moody modern synth-pop—Weird Future is a change of direction from the driving pop sensibilities of 2013's Good Numbers EP, finding the band in a darker, more mature space both sonically and emotionally. This time out, Highlander explores a hazy landscape awash with sparkling synths and persistent guitars where walls of fuzz and melodic vocal feedback trail lo-fi echoes into deep space.
Highlander started in 2008 as the synth-and-vocals bedroom recording project of songwriter Joe Oliver, but quickly moved from the bedroom to the stage with the addition of Samuel Barksdale on lead guitar and Garrett Goss (Gun Party, Iron Jayne) on drums, forming Highlander’s core. Following a series of lineup changes, Highlander recruited Will Day (Jack of Hearts, Willy Webb) on bass and what started as a four-track experiment had become a living, breathing giant robot.
Cue ‘80s training montage: 2012 saw Highlander honing its sound playing shows around the Southeast while studying the art and science of spaced-out pop—consistently blasting audiences both with blaring synthesizers and heartbroken, smartass lyrics. In the summer of 2013 the band issued a limited release of their first EP, Good Numbers, on Boom! Done records. The music video for lead single “Blankets” received complimentary reviews by the internet hordes, conclusively proving that Highlander did, in fact, exist.
The band returned to the studio, again with producer/engineer Paul Katzman (Hotels, 100 Watt Horse, Shampoo) in the spring of 2014 to record a batch of new tunes. While superficially resembling the dreamy synth-pop of Good Numbers, these songs focused not on a past of summery nostalgia, but a weird and autumnal future. Weeks turned into months as the band dove deep into the details of the recording process. They put their personal lives on hold to bring a laser focus to the creation of this new EP. Virtual instruments were overdubbed with older, less-reliable keyboards and amps resulting in a lusher, more organic sound. And like the pilots of a giant robot blasting into hyperspace, Highlander held on tight and floored it. The Weird Future EP was born.
“Post-punk that would not have been out of place in an episode of Miami Vice.” - The Blue Indian
“Channeling a mixture of ’80s nostalgia a la The Cure and modern indie elements the likes of Grizzly Bear, Weird Future dives into the mystically strange. An utterly melodic trip." - Under the Gun Review
“A bouncy funkified groove with a certain playfulness. Bandleader Joe Oliver finds himself in a reflective mood, waxing nostalgic in one verse and dropping existential musings in the next.” - Latest Disgrace
“Dance-infused electro-pop tunes with soft, laid back vocals.” - BeAtlanta
“A lightly raucous din of sincere pop-rock sentiment.” - Creative Loafing