Today, the Leeds-formed three-piece Drahla have announced their highly-anticipated debut album ‘Useless Coordinates’ will be released via Captured Tracks on May 3rd 2019.
The band have premiered the arresting first single ‘Stimulus for Living’ as a taster of the album along with a video for it via The FADER where it was described as “tightly bound and inventive…a frantic and densely packed song full of ideas and angst.”
‘Stimulus For Living’ is the second track taken from ‘Useless Coordinates’ following the release of ‘Twelves Divisions Of The Day’ last summer. The album was recorded in Yorkshire in the second half of 2018, and sees the band’s sound continue to evolve with the addition of saxophonist Chris Duffin across the record. Since finishing ‘Useless Coordinates’ the band have spent their time touring the US and Europe, including stops at Eurosonic and La Route Du Rock this winter.
Blending wiry, dark post-punk with unpredictable art-rock, Drahla have established themselves as a formidable and distinctive band across their three sold out 7” singles and 2017’s Third Article EP. Formed in late 2015, Drahla quickly found their identity in Yorkshire’s fertile music scene with their minimal yet robust bass-heavy sound. Their reputation as a fervent live act is ever-growing, with the band being asked to share stages with the likes of Parquet Courts, METZ, Ought, Buzzcocks, The Cribs and multiple festival appearances – including Meltdown at the request of The Cure’s Robert Smith.
Drahla will accompany the release with a run of tour dates. Tickets can be found at: www.drahla.com/live
Pre-order ‘Useless Coordinates’: https://drahla.lnk.to/uselesscoordinates
TOUR DATES 2019
May 2nd – Broadcast, Glasgow
May 3rd – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
May 7th – Yes, Manchester (w/ Sleep Eaters)
May 8th – Phase One, Liverpool (w/ Sleep Eaters)
May 9th – Hare And Hounds, Birmingham (w/ Sleep Eaters)
May 10th – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (w/ Sleep Eaters)
May 13th – The Cookie, Leicester (w/ Sleep Eaters)
May 15th – Studio 9294, London
May 16th – Green Door Store, Brighton (w/ Sleep Eaters)
May 17th – The Bullingdon, Oxford (w/ Sleep Eaters)
May 18th – The Boileroom, Guildford (w/ Sleep Eaters)
“Go inwards and be bold.” This was Harmony Korine’s advice to aspiring creatives, during a Q&A at the British Film Institute back in early 2016. For the recently-formed Drahla, his words served as something of a directive, encouraging the trio to trust their own instincts, however far removed they might be from those of their peers. Three years on, the Leeds-formed band have defined their own vital subset of art-rock with Useless Coordinates, a debut album that’s as fearless as it is enthralling.
Speaking from her current base in south-east London with bassist Rob Riggs, singer/guitarist Luciel Brown recounts the record’s somewhat chaotic gestation. “Most of last year was spent touring, so we were squeezing writing and recording in from the beginning of 2018 until end of August.” In-between a headline tour, support slots with Ought and METZ, and multiple festival appearances – including at Meltdown at the request of The Cure’s Robert Smith – Brown, Riggs and Wakefield-based drummer Mike Ainsley managed 10 days in the studio in total.
It was the unsettled nature of the period that part-inspired the album’s title. “[Useless Coordinates] summarised all of our situations,” Brown explains. “We had all these shows coming up and we knew we needed to leave our jobs and change our living situations to make all this stuff happen. So we had all these fixed points and timelines, but at the same time we felt quite lost within all of that.”
Though they felt adrift in their personal lives, artistically Drahla thrived amongst confusion. Experimentation was integral to the creative process, with Brown and Riggs continuing to swap instruments as per their live shows, while collectively they were open to relinquishing traditional song structures in favour of adopting a more instinctive approach. Another integral development proved to be the involvement Chris Duffin of XAM Duo, who played saxophone on large swathes of the record and whose esoteric musical tastes were influential.
Via Duffin, they discovered the work of Japanese synth pioneers Mariah and saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu. These cult figures figure amongst an eclectic array of musical touch points, from Glenn Miller and Swell Maps, to L.A.-band Behavior. As per their earliest releases, No Wave and post-punk remain integral to Drahla’s musical universe, evident in Brown’s brilliantly deadpan drawl, in the Gang Of Four-esque guitars on Gilded Cloud, and in Duffin’s skronking saxophone on React/Revolt, which draws parallels with the work of James Chance and the Contortions.
The set’s sharp angles, stark tones and claustrophobic textures are reflected in the album’s artwork. Designed by Brown and Riggs – as per all previous record sleeves and promotional videos – the minimalist, mixed media creation takes inspiration from Talking Heads and Gang Of Four album art, the work of American artist Cy Twombly, and the economical, regimented aesthetic of the Bauhaus movement. “Drahla came about off the back of needing an outlet for creative expression,” Brown explains. “So the whole aesthetic is hugely important. As important as the music.”
Whatever the medium, Brown’s interests lie in looking beyond the immediate to the abstract and indefinable. Her lyrics are developed from observations, notes and poems, and the fragmented imagery is spliced together to disorientating effect. On Gilded Cloud elegant snapshots from the golden age of Hollywood are juxtaposed with abrasive guitar textures, Pyramid Estate draws parallels between Ancient Egypt and the present day, and Serenity evokes the violent energy of a Francis Bacon painting. Beneath the abstraction are a diverse array of themes, including gender fluidity (Invisible Sex), city living (Primitive Rhythm) and artistic expression (Unwound).
The result is an uncompromising but deeply rewarding debut where the internal and external, cerebral and visceral coalesce to quite startling effect.
‘Useless Coordinates’ Tracklisting:
1. Gilded Cloud
3. Pyramid Estate
4. Stimulus for Living
6. Primitive Rhythm
7. Serotonin Level
8. Twelve Divisions of the Day
10. Invisible Sex