The Avalanches are performing their first live shows in nearly a decade next weekend, yesterday, the reclusive Australian production team released a teaser video for … well, presumably either a new album or a documentary film or both. The clip, in addition to appearances from rumored and confirmed collaborators like Father John Misty, Ariel Pink, Danny Brown, and Black Bananas’ Jennifer Herrema (on a song called “The Stepkids”), features some snippets of what sounds like new Avalanches songs. And if you Shazam those snippets, the app tells you that they’re tracks called “Subways” and “The Wozard Of Iz,” credited to the Avalanches and to a mysterious group called BRAINZ, respectively. The Wozard Of Iz is the name of an album by electronic music pioneer Mort Garson, which the snippet that Shazam credits to BRAINZ seems to sample.
Now here’s where things get even more interesting. Back in 2007, the Avalanches released a mix called “Brains (TEAZER),” so it would make sense for BRAINZ to be a pseudonym for the Avalanches. As several enterprising sleuths on the Indieheads subreddit have discovered, this website that lists new music releases includes “Frankie Sinatra – Brainz (Universal Australia) (+Video Single)” in the week commencing Friday, 5/20, aka this week. In 2012 and 2014, Danny Brown said that he recorded a song with the Avalanches called “Frank Sinatra,” and Universal Australia distributes Modular Records, the label that released Since I Left You and promised new Avalanches music last fall. So are the Avalanches releasing a video for a new song called “Frankie Sinatra” this week?
Here’s some more evidence. As another Redditor points out, a song called “Frankie Sinatra,” performed by “Avalanches” and composed by “CHATER/DI BLASI/HOUDINI/RODGERS/HAMMERST,” was registered with APRA, the Australasian Performing Right Association, a few weeks ago. (The credits probably mean that the song features a Rodgers & Hammerstein sample and a sample from Wilmoth Houdini’s calypso song “Bobby Sox Idol,” which includes the lyrics “Ahh Frankie Sinatra.”)
Then, two weeks ago, a member of the Louisiana brass band the New Natives made several since-deleted Instagram posts claiming to be shooting a video for an Avalanches song called “Frankie Sinatra”…
And around the same time, a graphic designer posted an image on Instagram (seen at the top of this post) featuring the words “Frankie Sinatra” and a butterfly design similar to the Avalanches’ mysterious butterfly symbol.
Of course this could all be a coincidence.