BAND OF THE DAY: THE ARMOIRES

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The Armoires to release their latest studio album “Octoberland” on October 11th via Big Stir Records

Their two lead singles “We Absolutely Mean It” and “Music & Animals” from the LP are out now!

Click here to watch The Armoires’ trippy new music video “We Absolutely Mean It” [feel free to post & share]

This So-Cal indie pop band is led by Big Stir Records’ founders Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome

BIG STIR RECORDS is proud to announce the October 11th release of the new album from California indie pop quintet THE ARMOIRES on Vinyl, CD and all Digital platforms. OCTOBERLAND, the band’s fourth full-length release, is an invigorating eleven-track collection of amped-up, richly detailed pop gems, including the indie singles “We Absolutely Mean It,” “Music & Animals,” “Here Comes The Song” and the forthcoming “Ridley & Me After The Apocalypse.” Click here to pre-order and pre-save.

The latest singles from THE ARMOIRES – the Burbank, California-based band led by CHRISTINA BULBENKO (vocals, keys) and REX BROOME (guitar, keys), also known as the founders of Big Stir Records – have exuded equal parts brash confidence and sophisticated mystery. There’s been the swirling psych-pop manifesto “We Absolutely Mean It,” the sweetly comforting “Music & Animals,” and, up next, the dramatic strings-driven “Here Comes The Song” followed by the giddy postpunk pulsebeat of “Ridley & Me After The Apocalypse.” All of them display the band reveling in their unique sound: the ambiguously androgynous harmonies of Broome and Bulbenko, the intricate instrumental interplay between LARYSA BULBENKO‘s endlessly versatile viola and the electric 12-strings, sweeping synths and delicate piano, and the unerringly empathetic rhythms of JOHN M. BORACK (drums) and CLIFFORD ULRICH (bass).

Produced like all the band’s new material with a deft pure pop touch by MICHAEL SIMMONS (of label-mates sparkle*jets u.k.), the tracks have proven the most accessible and popular entries in the Armoires’ discography while still retaining the fundamental, slightly eerie mystique of their unique sonic signature. That sound – a bright, brash amalgam of expansive New Pornographers-inspired lit-rock, ’90s twee-pop and dream rock, the college rock heights of R.E.M. and Echo & The Bunnymen and a bedrock of Byrds-and-Jefferson Airplane electric folk roots – unifies the album. But it’s the sly yet heartfelt sophistication of the songs that makes OCTOBERLAND such a rewarding experience, and a new watershed for The Armoires.

The album reveals the singles, for all their infectious energy, to be part of a deeply considered and immersively involving song cycle. “The songs were all written at once by Rex and myself,” says Christina, “and while we built them around some joyous, almost childlike chorus hooks like counting, spelling, chanting and nonsense syllables, something deeper started happening underneath it all. Imagery and themes kept surfacing over and over again. Omens, ravens and crows, snakes, cats, our own band name, October and ultimately our semi-utopian destination of Octoberland… references to myths, literature, folklore and modern media as part of a unifying continuum. So much started tying the songs together that it felt as much like world-building as songwriting, and we were so fascinated by the way they were informing each other that the process became part of the theme and the journey, too.”

“For the first time, we were writing explicitly for the band with a full understanding of its strengths and quirks, and we knew our biggest asset was the sound and psychology of us singing together all the time,” adds Rex. “So we consciously decided to sing from a collective perspective, ‘we’ instead of ‘I’, across the album. It’s inviting and inclusive, but a little bit spooky, and it lends a lot of power to the big theme linking these songs: community and creative collaboration as the antidote to the self-involvement that’s tearing our culture apart.” That toxic tendency is explicitly called out on the lilting, folk-rock tinged “Ouroboros Blues (Crow Whisperer)” with its titular reference to the iconic snake-swallowing-its-own-tail, and the galloping jangle-psych-cowpunk hybrid “Green Hellfire At The 7-11.” Unease lurks beneath the surface of the witchy, Stones-informed parable “Sickening Thud” and reaches weapons-grade intensity on “Snake Island Thirteen,” a windswept cry of solidarity with Christina’s war-torn ancestral homeland of Ukraine.

But OCTOBERLAND is less concerned with diagnosing that societal “spiritual gangrene” (as the surprisingly playful, Go-Betweens-inspired “You Oughta Be Cut In Half” has it) than seeking a cure through community, compassion and collaboration. As often as not, the songs are celebrations of deep connections between artists. The driving near-shoegaze groove of “This One’s For The Swedes” frames lyrics documenting shared adventures with the band’s tour and label-mates In Deed of Uppsala, Sweden, and “Ridley & Me” is a genuinely funny meta narrative that assembles a genre-trope-inspired “found family” to fght for the future of “the Artistocracy”. Collaboration is a heart-and-soul passion for The Armoires – when they proclaim “this is not a single point of view, this is a collective” on “We Absolutely Mean It,” for all the song’s tongue-in-cheek absurdity, it’s utterly sincere. They do, in fact, absolutely mean it.

The penultimate track brings it all home. “It’s A Good Time To Come Back Down From The Cold” is a slow-building piano ballad that finds Broome and Bulbenko mutually taking stock of the journey thus far and planning their next move. “Get on the road and go see the land / Head out with two or three other bands / Let the music and the friendship into your soul,” they sing in harmonies that are as symbolic as they are stacked. That leaves the now-familiar and welcoming thrum of “Music & Animals” to serve as an epilogue, with the destination reached at last: “Maybe out of all the myths and omens, we’ve built a world to feel at home in,” goes the bridge, “Octoberland: visit us when you can.” For The Armoires, in the end, comfort and creative risk are the complementary cornerstones to that world, and both are best experienced as part of a community of friends and fellow travelers who feel the same.

The timeless landscape on which these stories unfold is complemented by the Art Nouveau-meets-anime illustrations by Ridley Broome which adorn the LP and CD editions of the album. With a sound that encompasses the whole of pop-rock history from the ’60s to today, an aesthetic rooted in the 1890s, and a tapestry of lyrical nods to folklore and mythology more ancient still, THE ARMOIRES – Rex, Christina, Larysa, Clif and John, aided and abetted by Mr. Simmons – have not only delivered their definitive work, they’ve also fashioned a fully realized world out of time on OCTOBERLAND. This is your invitation… come join them for the ride, and visit them when you can, as often as you want.

Click here for complete lyrics to The Armoires’ “Octoberland”

Click here for “Octoberland” album credits

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