When Oliver Kalb first started making music as Bellows it was an indie-folk project, drawing inspiration from the lo-fi music of the Microphones as well as traditional European folk songs Kalb’s mom would sing for him growing up. Bellows’ first full-length, As If To Say I Hate Daylight, is a guitar-driven collection of songs that perfectly distills the band’s nascent stages.
Since that album was released in 2011, Kalb has been exploring new sonic aesthetics. His last album, 2016’s Fist & Palm, veered into the realm of bedroom pop, with Kalb exploring electronic production techniques and recording the entirety of the album in his home. Songs like “Dark Heart,” “Orange Juice,” and “Thick Skin” showed off Kalb’s dexterous new vision and served as a launch pad for the project’s future.
Bellows are teasing a forthcoming album today with a new song called “Housekeeping.” The album was recorded in Woodstock, NY, where Kalb lived this past winter. As usual, he invited an assortment of collaborators to work on the album with him, and this particular song features Jonnie Baker (Florist) on saxophone and Ian Cory (Lamniformes) on drums. The electronic drum parts were sequenced by James Wilcox, who worked on Fist & Palm.
“Housekeeping” is the first track on the new Bellows album. It’s a gentle song that interrogates what it really means to live a life of purpose. “And I clear my life away/ All the superficial things/ Everyone I meet I have no connection,” Kalb sings about the alienation one can feel when they don’t spend much time connecting with their inner self. The chorus is an easy singalong, lending a communal energy to Kalb’s lonely platitudes.
“The song is about finding wonder and beauty in the improbability of human life. How did my particular consciousness, out of trillions of human lives, find its way into me? How did it become housed in this weird lump of flesh that is my body? Why am I able to distinguish between by body and my self?” Kalb says. “As I grow older and more misanthropic and world weary, these little moments of wonder at the essential inescapable truths of physical reality become precious to me. To maybe just for a second see beyond the stifling confines of life in the material world, and notice that human life is greater than the physical form it’s represented in.”
Listen to “Housekeeping” and check out Bellows’ upcoming tour dates below.
06/29 Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
06/30 Philadelphia, PA @ Goo Lagoon
07/01 Washington, DC @ DC9
07/02 Raleigh, NC @ Neptune’s
07/03 Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
07/05 Nashville, TN @ The East Room
07/07 Dallas, TX @ Transit Bicycle Co.
07/08 Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
07/10 Tucson, AZ @ Owl’s Club
07/11 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
07/12 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
07/14 San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
07/16 Arcata, CA @ Outer Space
07/17 Salem, OR @ Dance Hall
07/18 Seattle, WA @ Barboza
07/19 Missoula, MT @ Freecycles
07/20 Bozeman, MT @ Labor Temple
07/22 Omaha, NE @ OutrSpaces
07/23 Minneapolis, MN @ Kitty Cat Klub
07/24 Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
07/25 Detroit, MI @ Outer Limits
07/26 Toronto, ON @ Monarch
07/27 Montreal, QC @ La Vitrola
07/28 Boston, MA @ ONCE Ballroom