Whispy sentimentality is a phrase that will never be associated with Bristol, PA based group Tulipomania. They’re too dark and complicated for that, so deliciously dark and complicated. I would go so far as to say that they are the David Lynch of the independent music world. Such a guilty pleasure yet easily accessible. Post modern in an introspective void, Tulipomania never disapoint and always intrigue. Press play to be consumed.
Philadelphia-based Tulipomania has revealed the second track from their new three-track maxi-single. ‘On The Outside’ follows the first single – the Seahawks Remix of ‘Don’t Be So Sure’.
‘On the Outside’ is a dark and sinister, yet addictive, affair, contrasting internal battles between hazy dream-pop and angular indie, between fractious and shattered vocals and muscular beats, swirling psychedelia and sonorous, drifting keyboard washes. God is in the TV Zine admist this is “like a more muscular Tindersticks fronted by Mark Lanegan”. The new video presents intricate torn paper and tape collages of live performance, melded frame-by-frame with interior and exterior images, and additional objects in the band’s examination of shifting mental states of focus.
Tulipomania creates meticulous, mesmerizing videos that augment the group’s artistry, involving painstaking frame-by-frame stop-motion animation techniques. Described as “artistic and inventive”, the music videos created by Tulipomania have been featured in film festivals worldwide, the most recent of which include the London Short Film Festival (England), Leeds International Film Festival (England), Aesthetica Short Film Festival (York, England), Encounters (Bristol, England), Zubroffka (Poland), and StopTrik (Croatia, Poland).
‘Don’t Be So Sure’ was the band’s first hand-painted animation, featuring multiple passes of brushwork shot on thousands of individual sheets of black paper, visually allowing singing self-portraits to morph and dissolve in an atmospheric exploration of ambiguity. For the Seahawks Remix, the band re-photographed the original artwork, frame by frame, matching the new tempo and softer mood, which they felt also called for a more painterly, layered approach to the imagery.
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Gelover and Murray first met in art school, and found themselves collaborating on projects for their Experimental Film and Animation classes. Tulipomania essentially grew along with these experiences. They were influenced by Talk Talk, the solo work by Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene, and many early 4AD bands, including Cocteau Twins, Lush, Throwing Muses, and The Pixies.
The original version of ‘Don’t Be So Sure’ featured on the band’s fourth album ‘This Gilded Age’ (2016), described by Byron Coley of WIRE Magazine (May 2017 edition) as “…pretty whacked – something akin to a battle of the bands between Crazy Horse and The Kronos Quartet”. The remix featured on this new single comes from Seahawks, a duo made up of Jon Tye, founder of the legendary Lo Recordings (whose roster includes Grimes, Aphex Twin, Four Tet, Thurston Moore and Astronauts) and Pete Fowler, creator of Monsterism vinyl toys and perhaps most famed as illustrator of oh so many Super Furry Animals album sleeves.
Tulipomania, whose name was inspired by the 1637 Dutch tulip market collapse, has been categorized as ‘cult synth punks’, ‘glam-leaning’, ‘postpunk’, ‘art rock’, and ‘muscular chamber pop’. Band members Tom Murray (lead vocals, bass, drums, guitar-organ) and Cheryl Gelover (synthesizer, background vocals) were joined by Mitch Smith (guitar, glockenspiel), who also contributed to the band’s eponymous first album, Richard Hartline (piano, percussion, engineering and mastering), and Howard Thompson (executive producer).
This release features intriguing new artwork by legendary artist Vaughan Oliver, whose work they have long admired. Oliver give distinct visual identities for 4AD releases by many bands, including Mojave 3, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Breeders, This Mortal Coil, Pale Saints, Pixies, and Throwing Muses, in addition to numerous non-4AD artists such as David Sylvian.
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