Crack Cloud – “Blue Kite”

Crack Cloud – “Blue Kite”

The Canadian collective Crack Cloud describe themselves as art punks. They’ve been operating on a DIY level for many years — their Bandcamp stretches back to 2016 — but after increasing buzz for their last couple of albums, they’ve signed to Jagjaguwar for the next one. Crack Cloud recorded Red Mile between their hometown of Calgary and the outskirts of Joshua Tree, CA. The album is coming in July, and its lead single “Blue Kite” is out today. It’s got some notes of quirky ’80s new wave and sophistipop, but the lead vocal is pure punk.

The band’s Zach Choy shared a statement on the new LP, which evolves into a statement on the lead single and cover art:

When we were recording the album Red Mile in the Mojave Desert, I spent nights reading about 20th century China. My grandparents migrated to Canada during Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and besides the photo albums and childhood memories, I have little basis for understanding their experience.
Beginning in the late 80s there came to be a generation of Chinese filmmakers whose main subject was the depiction of life during the Cultural Revolution. The films from this time examine the growing pains of national identity, without the glorification that defined National cinema up until then.
As the viewer with a degree of generational and cultural separation, I found an unusual sense of reprieve in the nuance of it all. And as our time drifted by in the desert, I continued to look inward.

The music of Red Mile came naturally, and of its own volition.
The Mojave had an elemental effect.
The seemingly never-ending labyrinth of touring into exhaustion that characterized preceding years.
And the externalization of Crack Cloud’s mythology, displaced and dismantled as we’ve grown out of ourselves, constantly, creatively reborn, by virtue and design.
This is how I would describe Red Mile, and more generally, the group’s freefall, nearly a decade in the making.

So when close friend and collaborator Aidan Pontarini pitched the skydiving punk concept for the album cover, it resonated deeply.

Blue Kite was written with a cultural intersection in mind. In Canada in the early 00’s we grew up to Sum 41. Late night YTV. And the spectre of Woodstock 99. From the outside looking in: being in a punk band meant that you could be a jackass. Pick your nose on stage; play the drum like Energizer Bunny. My relationship to punk music as a teenager hinged on self-deprecation; an easy, destructive mode of confronting what I didn’t like about myself. And what I didn’t understand about the world around me.

There’s a film that came out of China in 1993 and was subsequently banned therein, called The Blue Kite. It’s told from the perspective of a boy growing up in 1950’s Beijing. His environment is one of social conformity and political correctness, and he relishes in escapism when flying his kite. Eventually the boy succumbs to the social climate, and the kite itself is swept away into the branches of a tree. I thought the imagery was striking and wanted to incorporate it into a video with Aidan’s skydiving punk, in a hypnagogic way.

We filmed the video in and around the Desert where the album was recorded, and the skydiving took place.

Watch below.

01 “Crack Of Life”
02 “The Medium”
03 “Blue Kite”
04 “Lack Of Lack”
05 “Epitaph”
06 “I Am (I Was)”
07 “Ballad Of Billy”
08 “Lost On The Red Mile”

Red Mile is out 7/26 on Jagjaguwar.

Megan-Magdalena Bourne

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