Album Premiere | Broken Hearts Are Blue, ‘Meeting Themselves’

Broken Hearts Are Blue recently unveiled plans to release its third full-length album, Meeting Themselves (Council Records) on March 1, 2024. Pre-order the album here.

From their start in 1995, when the group occupied a place in a culture that included then contemporaries Braid, The Promise Ring, Mineral, Christie Front Drive, Jejune, and Jimmy Eat World, Broken Hearts Are Blue’s signature consistency has been its refusal to stay consistent. Their idiosyncratic catalog reflects an enduring preoccupation with exploring the rock and roll form, filling in its near-exhausted but still nimble outline with inspired compositions filled with colorful intertextuality, gallows humor, and personal allusions to place and past. Ever since their debut album, The Truth About Love (1997, Caulfield Records), their songs have vacillated between styles, tempos, emotional textures, and indie rock influences.

The band regrouped in 2018 to release three previously unrecorded songs (Here Is Always NowhereLate Night, Walnut StreetRustbelt Sunsets), plus a brand new one (Murder Mysteries). The experience of writing and recording after more than two decades spurred the geographically dislocated four-piece to continue to develop and share demos from their homes in Los Angeles, Alameda, Minneapolis, and Kalamazoo.

Over the following five years, the band has surpassed their original production, releasing the seven-song Goodbye Bunny Smith in 2020 and the twelve-track Dark Whimsy and Soft Surrealism in 2021.

Its new album Meeting Themselves was recorded in the summer of 2023 at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio in Oakland. Meric Long (The Dodos) served as engineer and producer, while Bay Area multi-instrumentalists Yea-Ming Chen (Yea-Ming and the Rumours) and Anna Hillburg (Shannon and The Clams, Will Sprott, Shannon Shaw and her All Star Buddy Band) were brought in to add their unique flair to several tracks.

These are Broken Hearts Are Blue’s autumn days. And where the sprawling DWSS, whose creation was largely the by-product of a global pandemic, sought a retreat from the external world of disease and political inanity toward a dense, referential landscape littered with cultural signposts, Meeting Themselves exhibits a lighter touch—a truce with what is to come as Generation X seniors.

Photo by August Owczarzak