Dead Heavens Announce Canadian Fall Tour in Support of Debut LP ‘Whichever Witch You Are’
Dead Heavens have announced an October tour of Eastern Canada in support of their debut album, Whatever Witch You Are. This tour includes a performance at the Halifax Pop Explosion festival, plus dates with Cancer Bats, fellow labelmates Julie & The Wrong Guys and New Swears, and finally a string of shows with Sights & Sounds.
The first thing usually noted about Dead Heavens is the hardcore, punk and post-hardcore provenance of its members, from its revered frontman and guitarist Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Rival Schools, Vanishing Life, Quicksand) to guitarist Paul Kostabi (Youth Gone Mad, White Zombie, Psychotica), bassist Nathan Aguilar (of Cults), and drummer Drew Thomas (Youth of Today, Bold, Into Another). The next thing noticed is how fully and freely Dead Heavens stands apart from those earlier projects.
Whatever Witch You Are, their first full-length, plays effortlessly as a new-classic blues rock album— a new-millennium Fresh Cream or Let it Bleed— only with sharp-angular sounds, noticeably psyche inflections, and melodies that seem wrought out of rebar: strong, pared down, and purposeful at every point.
“Many of these songs are love songs,” Schreifels explains, “Basic Cable is about love but a modern love that’s lost its way—when couples are stuck at home, binge-watching or glued to their phones, absently doing the dishes, unsatisfied until they finally realize that what they really need is to just go outside. This song is for when they finally get out there.”
Dead Heavens first coalesced during a solo tour for Schreifels, in 2013, with Thomas and Aguilar as backing band. Swapping and trading music for road listening—Cream, My Bloody Valentine, White Fence—together the three distilled the musical mood that would soon characterize Dead Heavens. Upon returning to New York, Aguilar reacquainted Thomas and Schreifels with musician, painter, and sound engineer Paul Kostabi. They leapt into recording at Kostabi’s Thunderdome Studios, and welcomed on Kostabi as a second lead guitar. A shotgun home studio set in the marshes of Piermont, New York, Thunderdome also guarded a trove of ’70s recording reels from Black Sabbath, The James Gang, and Jimi Hendrix—reels that played between takes and liberally infused the cauldron with an inspiringly darker magic.
But as the title tells you, Whatever Witch You Are enjoins us to radically accept this darker magic, “in the sense of accepting a strong, strange, powerful woman who freaks out people precisely for all her powers,” Schreifels says, “and not just in love, but acceptance in a modern world that can often isolate us, and make us feel like freaks. For the full 36 minutes of this record, we want people to be able to embrace this freakishness.” Even when our world’s havoc-tossed, and our heavens dead, the lifers out there will always shrug it off and ready themselves for the strange new era.