What are you hearing when you hear AU?
What are you seeing when you see AU?
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself over the past few months of getting to know Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka. Stroll down the street with them or see them side-by-side on stage: this Portland, Oregon-based duo embodies remarkable, frantic energy. It permeates everything they touch. More than any band I’ve ever known, AU brings into question the moment and where you are in it.
AU is on the verge of the release of their third album, Both Lights, due out on Hometapes (and the Leaf Label in Europe) this coming Spring. A bona fide long-time-coming following 2008’s acclaimed LP Verbs (and still-memorable tours with WHY? and Deerhoof), AU is boldly throwing open the curtains of time with their first single: “Solid Gold” (grab it at Pitchfork) is out today on a limited-edition 7″ record. Fortifying Valatka’s adrenalized percussion and Wyland’s soaring vocals and multi-tentacled performance on keys and guitar, is man-machine Colin Stetson on alto and whopping bass saxophone (most recently seen on stage with Bon Iver). The B-side, a song woven by Wyland himself from a reinterpretation of the album’s lead track, takes Stetson’s wild wind a notch higher and into the brightly lit stratosphere.
AU reflects that light. “Solid Gold” is the first taste of a sweeping aural experience that captures not only the journey of Wyland and Valatka through the past three years of love, loss, and levity, but the voyage music can take us all on if we click play and just listen. “The back and forth, the tug of war for love,” writes Wyland, getting at the root of “Solid Gold”, in essence a love song, “exhausting, exhilarating, and so totally not sustainable.” Like the best songs, in some way or another, we can all sing along to that. -Sara Padgett Heathcott
The AU “Solid Gold” 7″ is limited to 500 copies. The transparent yellow-orange 45 RPM vinyl is packaged with full-color transparent cover art in a heavy PVC jacket. Digital download included.
Limited edition 7″ now available from Hometapes
Digital download now available via Bandcamp
Digital download in Europe now available from The Leaf Label
Limited edition 7″ available in Europe on January 9, 2012 from The Leaf Label
(Hometapes / The Leaf Label)
Street Date: Dec. 7, 2011 (US) / Jan. 9, 2012 (UK)
1. Solid Gold
2. under / Epic (feat. Colin Stetson)