When one-time hardcore screamer Wes Eisold re-emerged a few years ago with Philly/NYC noir-pop electro act COLD CAVE, it caught the attention of everyone from his former insulated circles to indie dance nights (Disclosure: I booked them in Allston in November '09) to regular ol’ folks-at-home watching television, as Radio Shack used brisk stand-in-place stomper “Life Magazine” in its national commercial spots.
But as a whole, Love Comes Close (Matador Records) reeked of unfulfilled, yet almost undecipherable, promise. There was the throbbing New Order-ish waif of the title track, the icy hollow bounce of “The Trees Grew Emotions And Died,” the at-a-distance opener “Cebe And Me.” There was this inescapable sense that Eisold -- angry voice of American Nightmare, Some Girls and XO Skeletons -- either grew out of his aggression, needed a physical/mental time-out from hardcore, or was just hellbent on proving a newfound knack for electronic songwriting/programming to a fanbase who’d likely dismiss it immediately. (Hell, when it was time for a Boston debut, he brought Cold Cave to the Pill.) At the same time he played the role of detached cool before you even had a chance of accusing him of it, and as a result Love Comes Close was ambitious but ultimately lived up to its title. After coming close, it was so obvious there was more to gain, even if it meant dipping into his past.
Fast forward not even two years, and that brash sound you hear are once-disjointed pieces falling into place. The sound of a few disparate ideas coming together in ways that it takes several listens to fully digest is an odd one, yet you can identify it without hesitation. Cold Cave’s new single, the difficult “The Great Pan Is Dead” and lead track off April 5’s Cherish The Light Years, is an absolute monster, a tornado of repressed rage and flesh-cut emotion roaring out of the gate as an electronic blade spins almost out of control from the first second to the last. Eisold doesn’t scream, but he doesn’t need to. Shit, in shouting he almost cops a Chuck Mosely, and there might even be a Jarvis Cocker buried somewhere down there.
Also here, the Cold Cave sound is infinitely fuller -- as if he took several tracks off the first record and layered them to perfection -- and the detachment of old material is gone. “The Great Pan Is Dead” is gripping; a sonic skyscraper that’s hard to swallow, and only after a few intent listens is access to the rhythm permitted. Once you get the hook, the whole fucking thing falls into place.
It’s one of 2011’s first great tracks off potentially one of the year’s most intriguing releases. By the time Cold Cave opens for the Kills at Royale on April 26, the notion of standing around in the corner at a Cold Cave show should be as distant as the power chords Eisold once vocally exploded over.
DOWNLOAD: Cold Cave “The Great Pan Is Dead” [mp3]
The word from Wes Eisold, via the Cold Cave tumblr:
This is the first song on the forthcoming full-length, Cherish the Light Years. It was also the first song I wrote after the group of songs that makes up Love Comes Close and it existed in some half-finished way in my head for almost two years. It had to be the first song on the album and serve as a declaration of everything I want to assert through Cold Cave.
When the album was announced a few weeks ago it was said that the record is a love letter to NYC. That’s not exactly true. It’s a love letter to the path that has led me to where I am now, to loss and love and friends and enemies and the dizzied and blurred ways of the world. This song and record is about magic, preservation, youth and movement.
I spent the months before recording visiting old homes and record stores and small towns and cities I grew up in. I went to Boston, Philly, Portland and Brunswick Maine, Virginia Beach, San Diego, Monterey, and more to soak in the nostalgia, some version of research for the record.
I miss a lot of people. I used to deal with that by assuring myself I’d see them again. I know that can’t be true. This song is dedicated to all of them.
Cold Cave spring tour dates
April 6 – Pittsburgh, PA – Brillobox (CC headline)
April 7 – Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub (CC headline)
April 08 – Bloomington, IN – The Bishop (CC headline)
April 09 – St. Louis, MO – Luminary Center for the Arts (CC headline)
April 10 – Kansas City, MO – The Record Bar (CC headline)
April 11 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge (CC headline)
April 13 – Salt Lake City, UT — Urban Lounge (CC headline)
April 14 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress (CC headline)
April 19 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater (supporting The Kills)
April 20 – Austin, TX – La Zona Rosa (supporting The Kills)
April 22 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom (supporting The Kills)
April 23 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade (supporting The Kills)
April 24 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club (supporting The Kills)
April 26 – Boston, MA – Royale (supporting The Kills)
April 27 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts (supporting The Kills)
April 28 – Hartford, CT – The Mill (at Trinity College) (CC headline)
April 29 – New York, NY – Terminal 5 (supporting The Kills)
April 30 – Montreal, QC – Olympia (supporting The Kills)
May 1 – Toronto, ON – Sound Academy (supporting The Kills)
May 3 – Detroit, MI – Majestic (supporting The Kills)
May 4 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theater (supporting The Kills)
May 5 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave (supporting The Kills)
May 8 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom (supporting The Kills)
May 9 – Seattle, WA – Showbox (supporting The Kills)
May 10 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom (supporting The Kills)
May 11 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore Auditorium (supporting The Kills)