From Catnap To Coma is The Royal Arctic Institute’s first full exploratory mission in their current five-piece incarnation. The album was recorded and produced by James McNew (Yo La Tengo) in the historic Neumann Leather Factory in Hoboken, New Jersey. The EP is being released February 4th, by Already Dead Tapes and Records and will be available on cassette (duh!), as a paid download, and on streaming platforms.
At present, The Royal Arctic Institute comprises five musicians who have played extensively with other groups and/or as backing/session musicians: drummer Lyle Hysen (Das Damen, Arthur Lee), guitarists John Leon (Roky Erickson, Summer Wardrobe, Abra Moore) and Lynn Wright (And The Wiremen, Bee And Flower, Shilpa Ray), bassist David Motamed (Das Damen, Two Dollar Guitar, Arthur Lee, Townes Van Zandt), and keyboardist Carl Baggaley (Headbrain, Gramercy Arms).
All the pieces were created communally, deconstructing then reconstructing of material initially composed by guitarist John Leon. McNew recorded the band in a live setting with minimal overdubs or digital magic.
Leon and Hysen originally formed The Royal Arctic Institute in 2016 along with OG bassist Gerard Smith. This line-up recorded two albums before disbanding and subsequently reforming as a quintet in early 2020 at the outset of the pandemic.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the standout tune “Shore Leave on Pharagonesia” along with its corresponding video. Fans of Yo La Tengo will find plenty to love in the band’s sparse and dreamy style of indie rock that incorporates surf and desert grooves. The video provides something of a peephole into the creative process as we get to watch these talented players layering on sounds to create a mood that is at once soothing and transporting in that dream-like way. There aren’t many bells and whistles or extravagant production techniques, just a band playing music that is simple and enchanting.
John Leon describes the inspiration behind the song:
“This song was inspired by Jean Gerard “Mobius,” the French illustrator that helped found Heavy Metal Magazine in the 1970s. The story takes place in a fictional metropolis called Pharagonesia and I found the name to be so beautiful. The video was made by Dave Rygalski, which illustrations by Scott Bookman. Live footage was shot at Berlin Under A back in October.”
Photo credit: John Leon