Press Cycles: Drop Nineteens / Hard Light

Press Cycles: Drop Nineteens / <em>Hard Light</em>

Apple Music really really really wants me to love Drop Nineteens. Every time I’m listening to something ‘gazey and their recommendation algorithm kicks in, nine times out of ten it’s something by the seminal ’90s Boston outfit – either “Kick The Tragedy” or “Winona”, of course. Somehow the software knew that I never listened to the band in their first go-around in the ’90s and only spun Delaware in the streaming age sporadically, so the occasion of their unexpected reunion and release of Hard Light last Fall – not to mention the insistence of The Matrix – was the kick in the pants to really get into the band.

The new record was quite well-received but with press cycles being relatively short, particularly when they bump up against the holidays, it seems like it fell of the radar faster than it should have. It was actually an extensive interview with frontman Greg Ackell at Guitar World last week that reminded me that I liked the record and should give it more attention. In it, he revealed that despite his band’s position in the pantheon of shoegaze pioneers, they actually hardly used any pedals:

It became all about these sounds. It was a bit too much for my ears. So, when we went in to do Delaware, we completely abandoned pedals. You can do amazing things with pedals, but in my 19-year-old mind, I went, ‘Hey, pedals aren’t cool anymore. They’re lame.’ There was a wah-wah on our cover of Madonna’s Angel, but all the other sounds were achieved by setting up amps in different ways.

Greg Ackell, Drop Nineteens
“I gave my vintage Jazzmaster to a girl after a show in Liverpool. 30 years later she sent me back the guitar. It’s like it died and went to heaven and came back to me”: The miraculous return of US shoegaze pioneers Drop Nineteens @ Guitar World

Of course, this prompted some more digging on my part and I’ve compiled a number of interviews with Ackell about story of the band’s improbable return, what he’d been doing for the past 30 years that wasn’t music, and where he expects things to go from here:

Tone Glow 113: Greg Ackell (Drop Nineteens) @ Tone Glow

Drop Everything, There’s A New Drop Nineteens Album @ Stereogum

Drop Nineteens Can’t Wait to Meet You @ Paste

Drop Nineteens on “Hard Light” @ Under The Radar

Greg Ackell of Drop Nineteens reflects on the “waking dream” of a return 30 years in the making @ Far Out

Drop Nineteens on Releasing Their First New Album in 30 Years @ KEXP

Greg Ackell of Drop Nineteens: ‘It Always Does Start With the Music’ @ Q

And additionally, Flood Magazine spoke to some of the band’s present-day acolytes about what the band meant to them:

Horse Jumper of Love, Computerwife, Cryogeyser, and More on the Lasting Influence of Drop Nineteens @ Flood Magazine

It’s also neat to read this piece – just six years old – talking to former members of the band about what it was like being in the band way back in the day and with no inkling that some of them would be drawn back into the fold not that far into the future:

Five Ex-Drop Ninteens Tell Their Story @ Boston Hassle

Four official videos were released from the new record:

It’s unclear if there’s a future for Drop Nineteens following their limited touring for Hard Light starts and ends this month, they’re not quite done with putting new records into the stores. Delaware was reissued back in January by archival label Music On Vinyl, but even before those editions came out the band made it clear that that release was unauthorized (but not a bootleg, because of the byzantine way music rights are managed) and that the band would be putting out their own remastered and expanded edition of the record this Spring. Those details finally dropped last week, with the new release coming out on June 21 and featuring slightly tweaked album art:

We decided to change the cover image, not so much to self-cancel, but because we simply will not put the image of a young person with a gun in their hand out in the world in today’s climate,” the shoegaze band explained in a press statement. “To be fair, the concept was probably overstated even in 1992. We love the new cover design, and we are proud to be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this Delaware reissue to the charity Artist for Action to Prevent Gun Violence.

Drop Nineteens
Drop Nineteens Announce Delaware Reissue, Share New Cover of Lana Del Rey’s “White Dress”: Listen @ Pitchfork

And not coincidentally, those MOV editions have all but vanished from retailers, making it kind of a collector’s item now I guess? If you collect that sort of thing?

And to go along with the news, the band released a couple new tracks circa Hard Light – “Nest”, which was originally supposed to close the record, and a Lana Del Rey cover because why not. Of the new songs, which they’re counting as a digital single of sorts, they say:

‘Nest’ was originally intended to either open or close our album Hard Light. When we realized we had a better opener and closer, we were unable to find the right place for it on the album. It’s an apt closer as B-side to ‘White Dress,’ because it’s the the last song Drop Nineteens will be releasing for a while, or perhaps ever, because you know, you never know…. The ruminative lyrics make it well suited for this position.

I was admittedly late to Lana. But this track got me and it just won’t let go, so I decided to bring it to the band.

Sometimes a song takes hold and doesn’t let go. “White Dress” is that kind of song for me.

The band looked at me a little sideways when I suggested covering Lana Del Rey’s “White Dress,” but the moment we started running through what I had in mind together, they locked in on it.

Greg Ackell, Drop Nineteens
Drop Nineteens Announce Delaware Reissue, Share New Cover of Lana Del Rey’s “White Dress”: Listen @ Pitchfork

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