Historian drops the new single titled ‘Witch Hazel’ from their upcoming album ‘Distractions’ releasing on January 17, 2020. What I love about this track is that it chugs along like one of those tracks from the glory days of the alt-rock #Indie scene. I’m speaking, of course, about that time in the late 80s early 90s when MTV gave exactly 120 minutes a week to show new artists and college radio made up the rest of the week. This song sounds so underground at times that it gives that ‘quietly cool’ vibe because it needs not to try to get your attention. It just is. And what it is is up to you. What it is to me is relevant, justified, and short. It’s only 2:49 but what is packed in that tiny allotment of time is wondrous to behold. There are gorgeous and layered guitars, dissonant and droning harmony within the vocals, and that chugging beat that takes it right to the end. ‘Witch Hazel’ is a song that knows what it is and doesn’t need to tell you because you know too.
A Historian album is always a cohesive work where the sum is greater than the parts. By aiming for emotional reaction with little regard to commercial viability, the LA-based outfit has matured to embody an explorative, singular band, drawing comparisons to Radiohead, Deerhunter and Amen Dunes, with lead singer Chris Karman’s chant-like inflection guiding the music into the uncharted shamanistic territory.
The ever-prolific Karman is now gearing up to release the band’s seventh album, and third album of 2019, Distractions. The 11-song LP is clearly a visceral attempt to shake some of the nervous energy accumulating in these bizarre and tense times. Like most Historian albums, this one emphasizes mood over a structure, but there is a newfound urgency to the prophetic material, landing somewhere between Leonard Cohen and Wire.
”It’s about as close to a rock album as we’re likely to make,” Chris asserts, referring to lean tracks awash with dark organs, trombones and baritone sax. The songs are dark, and tap into the current cultural zeitgeist, telling of a world that is unrecognizable, and the futile process of waiting for it to return to normalcy. “Thematically, it’s focused on how social engineering is steering us away from a more meaningful life,” says Karman. “As a society we are moving towards a culture of constant distraction with screens everywhere, removing us from our natural rhythms and internal lives.”
‘Distractions’ will be released in full on January 17th.