The Goodbye Party, the project of Philadelphia-based musician Michael Cantor, has announced a new album titled Beautiful Motors with the release of its lead single “Unlucky Stars.”
Of the song, Cantor says “‘Unlucky Stars’ deals with the impacts of loss and memory. Loss in terms of other people but also one’s former self. I’d been reading Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas and at one point, an old sea captain has this dream of being underwater and all his old drowned sailors visit him. It felt like a good metaphor for how it feels to meditate on things and people that you miss while trying to escape the weight they carry.”
Recorded with Kyle Gilbride of Swearin’ at Wherever Audio, Beautiful Motors features a slew of notable Philadelphia musicians including Gilbride, Sam Cook-Parrott (Radiator Hospital), Maryn Jones (Yowler), Joey Doubek (Pinkwash, Speedy Ortiz), Emi Knight (Strawberry Runners), and pedal steel guitarist Zena Kay.
Beautiful Motors is available for pre-order now and due October 9th via Double Double Whammy.
Beautiful Motors is a culmination of Cantor’s previous releases, showcasing a full bloom of profound and haunted narrative songwriting. He’s always had a knack for vividly portraying the auditory flight of specters and feelings of loss and surrender, except this time he’s leaned into the grief of growing older while also looking back on the rock sounds of his youth. The songs inhabit you as the appearance of a ghost does; they remain long after the encounter, running through your brain like an omnipotent refrain.
Written between 2016 and 2018, Beautiful Motors is more of a rock record than Cantor’s earlier releases. Beautiful Motors is an ambrosia of heartening pop songs blended with distorted tape loops and heavenly sounds of organ and pedal steel. The solemnity of each song is carried by Cantor’s exquisite instrumentation, his fluid vocals and detailed lyrics, and a penchant for writing energetic pop hooks that hold up feelings of grief. “That was very intentional,” says Cantor. “I could’ve made a record of long, droning, sad songs, but I challenged myself to keep things more energetic.”
This collision of bereavement and sanguine sound is exactly what we all need right now, as we continue to navigate our way through an unprecedented global crisis. “People want to have fun when they see live music, back when there was live music,” says Cantor, adding that he hopes Beautiful Motors offer space for listeners to deal with grief in a way that feels upbeat yet genuine.
Cantor’s main goal with Beautiful Motors is to create a connection with listeners by putting his usual tricks aside and creating more tangible spaces. He cites the off-the-wall metaphors of Richard Brautigan, poetry of Dylan Thomas, natural observations of Mary Oliver, and writing exercises of Lynda Barry as lyrical inspirations. Musically, Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot served as main recording references: “Both of those records have strong pop songwriting, but also have a layer of decay, distortion… Things are kind of falling apart on all sides.” Cantor reimagines this corrosion through an undercurrent of tape hiss, bowed guitar strings, and other experimental sounds of brokenness.