The Dears Share Video for “Instant Nightmare!” (Plus Stream the New Album) | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024  

The Dears Share Video for “Instant Nightmare!” (Plus Stream the New Album)

Lovers Rock Out Now via Dangerbird

May 15, 2020 The Dears Bookmark and Share


Montréal’s The Dears have released a new album, Lovers Rock, today via Dangerbird. Now that the album’s out you can stream the whole thing below. They have also shared a video for the album’s “Instant Nightmare!” The song features lead vocals from the band’s Natalia Yanchak. Alexandre Pelletier and Vince Hurtu directed the partially animated video. Watch it below.

Yanchak had this to say about the song in a press release: “This is a super fun one, a heavy, trudging beast with strings and restrained vocals. Like the song is the Hulk and I’m Black Widow holding his hand saying: Take it easy, big guy.”

The Dears’ cofounder Murray Lightburn (also Yanchak’s husband) had this to say: “Normally I loathe making music videos that involve us having to be there. Despite the circumstances of this shoot I was way into this because as a hobby photographer, I got to spend most of my time as the default cameraman. Natalia sings this one, which is a relief for me. I learned so much from working with Natan (DOP) and Alex (director). I’m grateful for their patience with me trying to be their remote eyes and hands. Hopefully I did a good enough job that maybe they’ll hire me for a gig on another shoot one day.”

Yanchak had this to add: “We were originally scheduled to shoot the day when we all had to go into lockdown. We basically didn’t talk about the production for a week because nobody knew what lockdown meant. Then we discussed doing the shoot remotely, which initially I was not into. I’m not very skilled at putting on makeup, let alone makeup for the big screen. I was feeling incredibly self-conscious, and I deferred to a ‘let’s see how long this lockdown thing lasts.’ Several weeks later, it was apparent that we wouldn’t be getting a crew together in a studio anytime soon, so I had a one-on-one Google Meet tutorial with the makeup artist. She delivered a makeup kit to our house. I followed all the steps and made something happen. In the end, the majority of my apprehension was absurd—since the video would be a high-contrast animation of my face and nary a wrinkle or uneven skin-tone would be visible.”

Pelletier had this to say: “I was a fan of The Dears long before collaborating with them. I cold emailed them about a year ago, hoping to make a music video for them at some point. And here we are. Although we shot the video during the COVID-19 crisis, the concept was already green-lighted way before the pandemic started. Animation and other post-production efforts are still manageable in this current situation, so we kind of lucked out picking an animation focused concept. Part of the animation is based on rotoscoping, so we initially planned a studio shoot to create reference footage. Luckily, we were able to adapt and shoot this remotely, all thanks to Murray’s technical savviness and cinematographer Natan B. Foisy’s magic through FaceTime (thanks bud). In post-production, co-director and animator Vince Hurtu was able to create something amazing out of that footage. The video features an animated version of Natalia and Murray performing the track. Sparsely punctuated by lyrics and vivid imagery, it echoes the song’s grim and somber themes and eerily reflects the situation we’re all going through.”

Previously The Dears shared the album’s first single, “The Worst of Us,” via a lyric video for the new song. “The Worst of Us” was #1 on our Songs of the Week list. Then they shared another song from the album, dramatic album opener “Heart of An Animal,” via a strange Sinbad Richardson-directed lyric video for the song. “Heart of An Animal” was one of our Songs of the Week. Then they shared another song from the album, “I Know What You’re Thinking and It’s Awful,” via a video for the song (which was also one of our Songs of the Week).

Read our recent interview with Lightburn about what his COVID-19 quarantine experience has been like so far.

The Dears’ last album was 2017’s Times Infinity Volume Two, which was the follow-up to 2015’s Times Infinity Volume One. Since those two albums frontman Murray A. Lightburn also released a new solo album, Hear Me Out, in 2019 via Dangerbird.

The Dears are as ever led by Lightburn on vocals and guitar and his wife Yanchak on vocals and piano. For Lovers Rock they were joined by longtime drummer Jeff “Looch” Luciani (who’s been with them since 2011’s Degeneration Street) and two musicians who performed on Lightburn’s last solo album, Steve Raegele (guitar) and Rémi-Jean LeBlanc (bass). Sam Roberts also has a cameo and there’s saxophone from both Alex Francoeur and The E Street Band’s Jake Clemons (on “Stille Lost”).

In a previous press release Lightburn says that Lovers Rock has much in common with No Cities Left, their 2003-released sophomore album that probably remains their most beloved record.

“There’s a direct line between the sort of doominess of No Cities Left and this album,” said Lightburn. “You could go straight from Lovers Rock to No Cities Left and it’s like they’re interlocked. But it’s a different kind of doom. Around 2001, it felt like, ‘We have no control. We don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ Now it’s a doom that’s within our grasp. It’s in the air. It’s between us. But we do nothing about it.”

Lightburn and The Dears have been prolific of late, what with the band releasing two back-to-back albums in 2015 and 2017, Lightburn releasing a solo album in 2019, and now a new Dears album coming a little over a year later.

“For us, the tank is never empty,” Lightburn explained. “For me it’s like an onslaught of ideas and sounds, and then I can’t keep up half the time. It’s a feverish process. Every record that we make, there’s a ton of songs.”

Lightburn and Yanchak are parents and Lightburn also admitted in the previous press release that in this era where it’s harder for indie musicians to make a living, there’s a sense of urgency to their music making.

“The Dears aren’t fucking around,” he said. “We don’t have time to waste. We’ve got a job to do. And we’re going to do it. Twenty years ago, I knew I had a sound in my head, but I didn’t know how to get that down. Now I know how to get that sound.”

But for Lightburn it’s also very much about the art and connecting with listeners. “The question we’re asking in the music is, ‘how do we navigate so much bullshit in this world?’” he said. “We’re still playing this dumb rock music. But there’s always gonna be a little twist of the knife, cutting into something deep to make you feel like you’re alive. To say, ‘I know what you’re going through. And I’m hearing you, and I’m with you.’ That’s what the music is supposed to do.”

Under the Radar and The Dears go way back. We first discovered the band as they were preparing to release No Cities Left, which still remains one of our favorites and made the Top 20 in our Top 200 Albums of the Decade list in our Best of the Decade issue in 2009. We then put Lightburn on the cover of our print magazine in honor of The Dears’ 2006 album, Gang of Losers.

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The Dears Tour Dates:

08/27 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
08/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
08/30 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
11/10 – Berlin, DE @ Privatclub
11/12 – Istanbul, TR @ Babylon Bomonti
11/13 – Paris, FR @ La Boule Noiree
11/15 – Brussels, BE @ Le Bontanique
11/17 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/18 – Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown
11/19 – Cambridge, UK @ Portland Arms
11/21 – Glasgow, UK @ Drygate Theatre
11/22 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
11/23 – Bristol, UK @ Exchange
11/24 – London, UK @ The Garage
11/25 – Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach
11/27 – Athens, GR @ The Temple
12/06 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
12/07 – Hamilton, ON @ Mills Hardware
12/10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
12/12 – Washington DC @ DC9

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