Photo Credit : Colin Medley // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES
Toronto's Absolutely Free released their self-titled debut LP in 2014, an album of "prog pop mini-suites" (Pitchfork) that earned high praise from outlets like Pitchfork, Noisey, Rolling Stone, BrooklynVegan and Stereogum, received a nomination for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, and saw the band tour extensively with artists like Alvvays and Preoccupations. Composed of Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg, Michael Claxton, and Matt King - three musicians with varied, multi-disciplinary backgrounds in music, film and visual arts - the band members have been engaged in a broad collection of commissioned projects but have remained mostly quiet as a unit since their debut's release.
Last November, Absolutely Free hinted at what they've been up to with a one-off single called "Still Life," a "subtly off-kilter" (Stereogum) track produced by Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Japanese Breakfast, Tamaryn). Today, the band has formalized its return with the premiere of a new collaboration with U.S. Girls entitled "Currency", a preview of their forthcoming Geneva Freeport 12”, mixed by revered Toronto experimental music auteur Sandro Perri, out June 20 on Idée Fixe. "Currency" features U.S. Girls' Meg Remy taking lead vocals over a nervy post-punk shuffle that gradually blossoms into a dense cosmic disco track. "Currency" is out digitally on May 1 in a two-track bundle and includes an Extended Mix.
“Currency” Single Artwork // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES
In conversation with The FADER, King talks about working with Remy, expanding on the lyrical content of "Currency", and explaining how the song's lyrics – about acknowledging privilege and social currency – are mirrored by the collaborative vocal arrangement:
Currency’s lyrics consider how social frameworks like gender performance are built. As a band, we are learning to acknowledge the privilege and power we personally gain from systems such as patriarchy, and are feeling conflicted about how to best use this social capital. We have noticed a lot of white male reactions to this era of intersectional sensitivity have been to stay out of the conversation completely, but this results in music that tends to just operate as "music", and that’s sort of it. We have never been a band who is interested in just making "music”, but also understand that social currency, built solely on statements of solidarity, become platitudes without meaningful action behind them. It's a difficult thing to navigate.
We know that any space we take up means another band doesn’t get to inhabit that space. This is one of the reasons we have taken so long to release new music; because we want to make sure we use whatever bandwidth we are given to share something that is deeply considered and worth paying attention to. Also, we've been learning to work more collaboratively, to share the space that we do occupy with others. We were inspired by the Talking Heads album, Remain In Light, when we wrote this record and in this song particularly, we wanted to subvert their reference to the “front-man with female back-up singers” trope. We are so grateful to Meg from U.S. Girls for her contribution and unwavering support for this project, as we are so inspired by her work and ethics.
In support of the release, Absolutely Free will be performing select dates throughout the summer. Full details can be found below.
Geneva Freeport EP Artwork // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES
GENEVA FREEPORT TRACKLIST
1. Geneva Freeport
2. Currency feat. U.S. Girls (Extended Mix)
3. The Endless Scroll feat. Carl Didur
May 9 - Toronto ON - The Garrison - CMW w/ Sauna, Living Hour, Art d'Ecco
May 22-24 - St. John NFLD - Lawnya Vawnya
June 14 - Guelph, ON - Ebar
July 6 - Quebec, QC - Meduse - Festival OFF
July 27 - Durham ON - Crystal Lake Sound