In 2017, the Dream Syndicate, one of the leading lights of LA’s neo-psychedelic Paisley Underground scene, returned with Did I Find Myself Here?, their first new album since 1988’s Ghost Stories. Earlier this year, they contributed to the Paisley Underground covers compilation 3 x 4: The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, and now, they’re coming back again with a new full-length. These Times, their second LP since reuniting in 2012, will be out in May, and according to frontman Steve Wynn, it was inspired in part of J Dilla:
When I was writing the songs for the new album I was pretty obsessed with Donuts by J Dilla. I loved the way that he approached record making as a DJ, a crate-digger, a music fan wanting to lay out all of his favorite music, twist and turn the results until he made them into his own. I was messing around with step sequencers, drum machines, loops — anything to take me out of my usual way of writing and try to feel as though I was working on a compilation rather than ‘more of the same.’ You might not automatically put the Dream Syndicate and J Dilla in the same sentence, but I hear that album when I hear our new one.
The band recorded These Times at Virginia’s Montrose Studios with John Agnello, and Wynn wrote all of the lyrics in the studio after the band had finished tracking the songs. “There is no avoiding the existential panic of a world that’s hurtling somewhere quickly, evolving, and shifting course by the hour,” he says. “It seems like a lie to not address or reflect the things that we can’t stop thinking about — the whole world’s watching indeed. The lyrics are just a mirror of the dread, panic, mania, speculation, melancholy and ultimately shrugging abandonment that just might follow. It’s just all about where we are.”
Lead single “Black Light” is a droning, shadowy spoken-word trance of a song, and you can listen to it below along with a psychedelic video from director David Dalglish.
05/10 Washington DC @ U Street Music Hall
05/11 Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
05/16 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
05/17 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
05/18 Somerville, MA @ Once
05/30 Milwaukee, WI @ Collectivo
06/01 Chicago, IL @ The Hide Out
These Times is out 5/3 via Anti-. Pre-order it here.