Fantasy Empire is the forthcoming new full-length from Rhode Island noise duo, LIGHTNING BOLT. Slated to drop later this month, the band’s sixth album — and first in six years — is a fresh take from a band intent on pushing themselves musically and sonically while maintaining the aesthetic that has defined not only them, but an entire generation of noisemakers. It marks many firsts, most notably their first recordings made using hi-fi recording equipment at the famed Machines With Magnets, and their first album for Thrill Jockey. Fantasy Empire sounds like drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson are playing just a few feet away, using the clarity afforded by the studio to amplify the intensity they project. Every frantic drum hit, every fuzzed-out riff, sounds more present and tangible than ever before. Fantasy Empire is ferocious, consuming, and is a more accurate translation of LIGHTNING BOLT’s live experience. It also shows the two embracing new ways to make their music even stranger. More than on any previous record, Chippendale and Gibson make use of live loops and complete separation of the instruments during recording to maximize the sonic pandemonium and power.
In celebration of its release, today NPR brings fans a stream of the record in its devious entirety noting “LIGHTNING BOLT takes a few steps toward modernity on Fantasy Empire, which finds the duo moving away from congested, low-fidelity sounds in the pursuit of studio clarity. Listening is akin to the scene in The Wizard Of Oz where a sepia tone gives way to Technicolor; it opens up new vistas to the sound, while giving the band an opportunity to exhibit more involved musicianship. It’s less a blur and more a detailed map of planned aggression.”
Hear for yourself, courtesy of NPR, at THIS LOCATION.
LIGHTNING BOLT will embark upon an epic US tour this Spring supporting Fantasy Empire. Set to commence on April 15th in Buffalo, the pair will trounce twenty-nine cities on a cross country live invasion with the concluding show to take place on May 17th in Cambridge. Team LIGHTNING BOLT will be joined by Canadian noise rock unit METZ, as well as New York black metal collective, Liturgy, on select dates.
4/15/2015 Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY w/ METZ
4/16/2015 Double Happiness – Columbus, OH w/ METZ
4/17/2015 Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH w/ METZ
4/18/2015 The Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI w/ METZ
4/19/2015 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL
4/20/2015 Turf Club – Saint Paul, MN
4/21/2015 The Luminary Center for the Arts – St. Louis, MO
4/22/2015 Jackpot Music Hall – Lawrence, KS
4/24/2015 GLOB – Denver, CO
4/25/2015 Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
4/27/2015 The Shredder – Boise, ID
4/28/2015 Neumos – Seattle, WA w/ Liturgy
4/29/2015 Dantes – Portland, OR w/ Liturgy
5/01/2015 The Chapel – San Francisco , CA w/ Liturgy
5/02/2015 Leo’s – Oakland, CA w/ Liturgy
5/03/2015 Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA w/ Liturgy
5/04/2015 Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA w/ Liturgy
5/05/2015 Casbah – San Diego, CA w/ Liturgy
5/06/2015 Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
5/08/2015 Austin Psych Fest – Austin, TX
5/09/2015 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
5/10/2015 Mammal Gallery – Atlanta, GA
5/11/2015 Kings – Raleigh, NC
5/12/2015 Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
5/13/2015 Floristree – Baltimore, MD
5/14/2015 First Unitarian church – Philadelphia, PA
5/15/2015 The Wick – Brooklyn, NY
5/16/2015 Le Poisson Rouge – New York, NY
5/17/2015 The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
Over the course of its two-decade existence, noise duo LIGHTNING BOLT has revolutionized underground rock in immeasurable ways. The pair broke the barrier between stage and audience by setting themselves up on the floor in the midst of the crowd. Their momentous live performances and the mania they inspired paved the way for similar tactics used by Dan Deacon and literally hundreds of others. Similarly, the band’s recordings have always been chaotic, roaring, blown out documents that sound like they could destroy even the toughest set of speakers.
Fantasy Empire will be released March 24th, 2015 via Thrill Jockey. In addition to standard formats, Thrill Jockey is offering a limited pressing of 300 deluxe double LP versions on black-and-white swirl vinyl. Preorder packages are available at THIS LOCATION.
“The live feel of previous albums remains, but is as if they converted that vibe to 3D. The hi-res detail, especially in the fiery repetitions of Gibson’s bass, is as bracing as a face-slap. And the duo’s energy is so tangible you can practically see their sweat dripping. Even Chippendale’s trademark cover art has been made over, with his previous neon pastiches replaced by a darker swirl.” – Pitchfork
“First taste, album opener ‘The Metal East,’ represents the band’s cleaner though no less pummeling sound, with quick blasts of Line 6 loops added to their signature bludgeon.” – Rolling Stone
“Fantasy Empire, the new LIGHTNING BOLT album, is a straight-up face-ripper, a grainy assaultive spree of riffs and drum-spazzouts. If you’ve ever spent an evening sweatily moshing to this band in a concrete warehouse, it should trigger some instant sense-memories.” – Stereogum
“Fantasy Empire packs every second of its forty-eight minutes with what essentially sounds like a rabid baboon trapped inside a transistor that’s being tumble-dried alongside an anvil and an amp. “ – Steel For Brains