Cold Beat – “Cracks” (Stereogum Premiere)

Hannah Lew knows how to be fearless. First, as part of San Francisco post-punk trio Grass Widow, she joined Lillian Maring and Raven Mahon in crafting heady, discordant music in three-part harmony. After Grass Widow faded away, Lew began to put out music with her own band, Cold Beat, and they released their initial album Over Me in 2014. To release that record, she also founded a label called Crime On The Moon, which will put out the band’s second record Into The Air this September. Back when she started it, Lew talked to The Media at length about writing music that deals with grief, the way she views her relationship to capitalism, and the fear that came along with quitting her job to start the label. Yet, here she is still facing that down and creating new music — not only that, but doing it amid the “techie millionaire” bubble in San Francisco that’s made the city wildly unaffordable and driven plenty of DIY artists away.

“Cracks” picks up that thread with blunt, cold minimalism from Lew’s meticulous backing band; Kyle King and Jackson Blumgart trade jagged, crackling riffs, and Susi Leni on drums keeps the pace with Lew’s thumping bass line. For as much chemistry as this four-piece has, it’s still Lew’s sugar-sweet vocals — now soft and yielding, then tough and brittle — that convey the frustration the song encompasses. Cold Beat whip these emotions into a beautiful storm, fusing anger and destruction into a glassy, pulsing missive. Listen below and check out the full album tracklist.

Here’s the Into The Air tracklist:

01 “Bruno”
02 “Outrunning Shadows”
03 “Broken Lines”
04 “Am I Dust”
05 “Cracks”
06 “7 Sisters”
07 “Clouds”
08 “Spirals”
09 “Passenger”
10 “Ashes”

You can hear a live rendition of another new track from the album, “Broken Lines” via NPR.

Into The Air out 9/4 via Crime On The Moon.