New Jersey genre-bending rock band Tula Vera has announced their forthcoming EP Shape Shifter (out November 2022), alongside the release of lead single “Astroplane,” a groovy, riff-heavy tune sonically channeling sci-fi and sensitively portraying the cosmically confusing experience of dissociation.
Like many bands existing in the 2020s, Tula Vera was sidelined at the beginning of the decade by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a canceled tour, they found themselves with a seemingly endless expanse of time. While daunting at first, that time ended up being exactly what the band needed, granting them the space and freedom to explore territories of songwriting and creativity they hadn’t before. With primary songwriters Claire Parcells and Dylan Drummond living between Brooklyn and North Jersey respectively, they revisited their individual caches of songs and crafted new ones touching on the infinitesimal and the grandiose, the natural and the supernatural. Once it became possible, they reconnected with their bandmates to bounce off more ideas and make the songs really sound like Tula Vera. With extensive lyrical and instrumental contributions from each of the four, who’ve developed enviable camaraderie over their six years of writing and gigging, a new Tula Vera project began to take shape.
For Shape Shifter, Tula Vera adds a personal touch reflecting the challenges they’ve encountered — by playing with the shine of the band’s alt-rock predecessors, the band resists overplaying the personal. Thematically, the EP forges new paths for the young songwriters. The band is drawn to boundaries between the natural and the supernatural, the terranean and the cosmic, and other highly speculative settings. “Mother Nature’s Sati” is an earthbound lamentation, illuminating a generation’s growing concern that the planet on which we dwell is bound for fire and brimstone.
With the help of engineers Doug Gallo and Kelly Cuthbert, Tula Vera is now a reborn band. While the sound on Shape Shifter is still identifiably Tula Vera, there is a sonic diversity and thematic consistency that displays an elevation in songcrafting. The band’s mastery of rock’s variegated permutations comes from intrepid experimentation, the result of quarantines spent tinkering with styles, rhythms, and more. Shape Shifter is a striking new direction that promises nothing short of excitement.
Photo Courtesy: Ryan Miele