On October 19th, the Brooklyn trio of Dan Friel (Parts & Labor), Zach Lehroff (Ex Models) and Jeff Ottenbacher release Mars, a collection of noise-pop epics that imagine our colonization of the red planet. Using space and science fiction as tools to explore contemporary issues, Mars exploits a tension between the infinite potential of the cosmos and the gritty details of exploring it, with songs that are as intelligent as they are exuberant.
Ahead of the album’s release, the band have shared first single “Perfect Eyesight,” featuring guest vocals from Katie Eastburn (Young People, KATIEE). The track draws on the true story of William Bates, an ophthalmologist who instructed his patients to stare at the sun, thought glasses were a scam, and occasionally disappeared for years at a time with no memory.
Mars sees Upper Wilds dramatically expand their musical scope. Loud and visceral guitar lines are anchored by addictive melodies while driving bass and drums support soaring vocal harmonies and alien sounds. Recorded by Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Boredoms), the album features guest vocals from a host of friends and collaborators, including current Guided by Voices bassist Mark Shue, pop punk activist Jeff Rosenstock and more. Friel’s fascination with space manifests itself at every level of the record, from NASA satellite samples used in the closing drone of the album, to the appropriately futuristic cover art designed by Nolen Strals of both the band Double Dagger and award-winning design studio Post Typography.
Upper Wilds will be on tour in the U.S. throughout this fall.
Upper Wilds tour dates
Sep. 29 – Brooklyn, NY – Alphaville w/ Eaters, War Bubble
Oct. 31 – Chapel Hill, NC – Nightlight w/ Solar Halos
Nov. 3 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool w/ Mock Identity, KATIEE
Nov. 1 – Washington, DC – Comet Ping Pong w/ Mock Identity
Nov. 2 – Philadelphia, PA – Ortlieb’s w/ Mock Identity