Dead Soft are a Canadian trio that traffic in a fuzz-drenched, hook-laden sound that recalls everything from grunge to classic ’80s alternative to power-pop. Founded by Nathaniel Epp (vocals/guitar) and Keeley Rochon (bassist/vocalist) and rounded out by drummer Alex Smith, the band have been scrapping along for much of this decade — DIY releases, relentless touring, the familiar grind. (On some of those tours, they’ve played with like-minded bands such as Bully, the Breeders, and Great Grandpa.) All along, they were working their way towards their debut full-length. That album, Big Blue, is finally arriving this October.
The band almost didn’t make it there. For much of their existence, Dead Soft were based in Vancouver, struggling with a well-known plight for artists these days in that staying in their chosen city and working as musicians became financially untenable, created too much strain. After a failed attempt at beginning their album in 2016, Dead Soft decided to relocate to a further-flung locale — the idyllic, quiet, forested Gabriola Island.
Suddenly their lives were radically different than the constant (but suffocating) energy of the city. In turn, it changed their writing. “The struggles and growth were happening while we were creating the album and began to seep into the music,” Epp explains in a press release. “It became a record about our search for peace.” Their new surroundings influenced the name of the album, too; Rochon notes that they were taken aback by the blue glow that happens just between day and night when you live in a place without light pollution.
Along with today’s announcement of Big Blue, the band have shared its lead single and opening track, “I Believe You.” Here’s what Epp had to say about it:
This song is about trusting that you will get to where you’re going. It was written at a time when I knew I needed to make a change in my life. I didn’t know what that change would look like but I could feel it coming and braced myself with the fact that truth and love will prevail in the end.
“I Believe You” is a promising preview of Big Blue. It surges forward on churning waves of distortion, Epp’s vocals gliding above them like a slightly more melodically-minded and/or seeking version of a tried and true slacker-rock cadence of the past. In some ways, it sounds like a sugary-yet-desperate old grunge song; in others, a frayed-beyond-recognition indie song; and in brief moments like the intersection of a spacey recurring guitar line and ghostly background vocals, almost shoegaze. Check it out below.
01 “I Believe You”
02 “The Wind”
03 “Step Out”
05 “The Static”
06 “Whatever I Want”
10/12 – Vancouver, BC @ The Astoria
10/17 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino Smokehouse
10/18 – Edmonton, AB @ Sewing Machine Factory
10/20 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Good Will
10/21 – Minneapolis. MN @ 7th Street Entry
10/23 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington
10/24 – Port Huron, MI @ SchwonkSoundStead
10/25 – Toronto, ON @ The Beguiling
10/26 – Montreal, QC @ La Sotterenea
10/28 – Ottawa, ON @ Live On Elgin
10/29 – Allston, MA @ O’Briens
11/02 – Philadelphia, PA @ Creep Records
11/06 – Nashville, TN @ Drkmttr
11/11 – Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
11/12 – San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink
Big Blue is out 10/18 via Arts & Crafts. Pre-order it here.