Described by MTV as possessing “the slo-mo heaviness of a 2,000-pound pendulum,” Oakland-based band, Steel Cranes – Tracy Shapiro (vocals, guitar) and Amanda Schukle (drums, bass, guitar, keys) – is offering up an evolution of that sound on its upcoming new album "Tango" (Aug. 5th, Mister White Tights Records.)
"Tango" is a more dynamic take on the “grit” and “raw, relentless power” that MAGNET and Bitch respectively called out in their 2013 coverage of Ouroboros, the debut Steel Cranes album. With a vision for the sound of "Tango" that was more expansive, Shapiro and Schukle were initially stalled when considering the logistics of accomplishing these time-consuming sonic refinements in a studio environment. It soon became clear that the best option was to record and mix the record themselves.
“Amanda has been recording her own music for years, and she began obsessively learning more about recording and mixing,” Shapiro remembers. “As soon as we decided to do everything ourselves, the control freaks in us were unleashed!”
This education ultimately yielded the more passionate and layered version of the Steel Cranes sound that is heard on "Tango". Once freed from the confines of creative deadlines and traditional studio environments, Shapiro and Schukle took full advantage of their new work paradigm.
“We wanted time and space to let ourselves stretch in new ways,” Shapiro says. “In ways that don’t come easy when you’re aware of how much it costs to spend three hours experimenting with the fucked-up tones on your old Casio keyboard.”
Most of all, a year versus five days meant more of everything that made the first Steel Cranes album special.
Schukle continues, “We’d been playing some of these songs live for a while and we heard more in them. More texture. More nuance. More melody. More guitar tones. Definitely bass. With each song, we were careful to record the guitars in a way that left plenty of space for additional instruments. "Tango" has a lot more of a post-punk vibe, definitely some grunge, maybe a little classic rock, and also some generally weird shit that I’m not sure how to describe. But it is also more beautiful.”
The first single and video from "Tango" is “Pretty.”
“‘Pretty’ is personal and impersonal,” Shapiro says of the tune. “It’s born from a period where I felt surrounded by betrayal in my life, and in the lives of people close to me. I was thinking a lot about the visible and invisible forces constantly at play, informing people’s choices and behavior. Part of why I love writing songs is that they offer some sort of resolution for that which can’t be resolved.”
"Tango" by Steel Cranes arrives on August 5th, 2016.
- Alternative Rock