Track-by-Track: Still Corners on "Dead Blue" | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Track-by-Track: Still Corners on “Dead Blue”

Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes on Their Third Album, Out Now via Wrecking Light

Oct 10, 2016 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern (for Under the Radar) Still Corners
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Still Corners released their third album, Dead Blue, a few weeks back via the band’s own label, Wrecking Light Records. It is the follow-up to 2013’s Strange Pleasures, their criminally under-appreciated dream-pop album that was released by Sub Pop. The male/female American/British duo of Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray wrote Dead Blue in a rented house in the English seaside town of Deal, in Kent. While it retains some of the delicious dream-pop they served up on Strange Pleasures and their debut, 2011’s Creatures of an Hour, Dead Blue also ventures into darker ‘80s synth-pop territory. Here, Hughes and Murray break down Dead Blue track-by-track, discussing the lyrical and musical inspirations behind each song.

“Lost Boys”

Tessa Murray: I had finished reading Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and I thought to myself how much I felt for him. Around the same time I watched The Lost Boys again, the 1987 vampire movie and it all just clicked. We had the chords and a melody and went with it.

“Currents”

Greg Hughes: I had been reading a book by Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist monk from the U.S. She talks a lot about how the future is going to unfold and how we’re stuck in a current and that the only way to survive is to stick together. She says, “The time of the lone wolf is over.” If we try to swim to the beach we’ll be torn apart. We wrote this song about that.

“Bad Country”

Greg: I had flown to my mom’s house in Arizona and was taking a lot of walks in the desert. I love the desert, it’s a very powerful place and the first place I can remember connecting with nature as a kid. It’s all very beautiful and very deadly. I thought a great idea for a song would be about being lost in the desert. The song title popped into my head“Bad Country.” When it’s 120 degrees of hot sand, no water, and a million things that can kill you, you feel a dark side to that beauty.

“Crooked Fingers”

Greg: We all have someone in our lives who has tried in some way to control us or a situation. It more or less wrote itself.

Tessa: The vocal parts I came up with for this song really creates the right vibe for “Crooked Fingers,” it’s in the lower part of my register. I think it’s my favorite song on the album and has some of our best lyrics.

“Skimming”

Tessa: By the sea where we wrote the album there was a pebble beach. There were moments when the water was completely still. No waves, clear water. I would skim pebbles and see how many skips I could get. This song reflects a simple beautiful moment and harks back to my time in choir.

“Down with Heaven and Hell”

Greg: A song about the battle between good and evil. My friend struggled with it his whole life and eventually lost. It has the lyric: “it’s a long way down Icarus.” I wished I could have helped more but sometimes someone is going to drive that car straight off the cliff and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s my favorite song on the album.

“Downtown”

Tessa: This song came from a friend who spent the night driving around the city looking for her boyfriend because she knew he was with another girl. The opening lyric says it all“I’ve been looking for you, driving round all night, though I knew where you were, I’m outta luck tonight.” We took some artistic liberty and things don’t appear to end well“the streets are red tonight, I found you.” If you’ve ever been cheated on you understand.

“The Fixer”

Tessa: About those whose job it is to get certain things that are “unavailable” at Boots [the British chemist/pharmacy chain].

“Dreamhorse”

Greg: Since I was a kid I’ve had a recurring nightmare of a winged horse, I called it the “terrible beauty.”

“Night Walk”

Greg: I spent a lot of time walking London at night. I didn’t really like taking the tube and would always walk if possible even if it was a mile or two I didn’t mind. You see so much more of the world on foot. Nooks and crannies, strange bookshops, little bars and restaurants you had no idea existed. It’s easy to remember on these nights that it wasn’t long ago London was a dark smoky place. The idea for the song came from these walks. The first lyric summarizes it well: “Walking through the streets after dark and all I see are demons…”

“River’s Edge”

Tessa: I read the Mosquito Coast years ago, a man takes his family to the deepest part of the jungle to make a giant ice machine. Nature squashes his plans and their lives as it often does. It’s a brilliant movie about obsession and how small we are compared to the nature around us. We’re all a bit like him, just a little beetle crawling through the vast jungle trying to survive.

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Shawn D.
July 21st 2018
7:17pm

Love the album, but River’s Edge seems undeservingly short. Just as it builds up to the minute and a half mark I’m distinctly left wanting more. On purpose? Left feeling unfulfilled at the end of the album, uneasy. Such an odd feeling.