No Guitar, the new album that is set to be dropped August 11 from Curling, drives a sound that is effortless, cloaking the heavy thematic undertones such as isolation, romantic heartbreak, and the loss of a loved one. The lush and intricate songs cover a myriad of stylistic grounds, from power-pop’s punchy bittersweetness and rustling indie folk to the openhearted intricacy of Midwestern emo. Curling founders Bernie Gelman (Bay Area) and Jojo Brandel (Japan) teamed up with drummer Kynwyn Sterling to strengthen the band’s sound more than ever before. No Guitars’ tangle of electronics, gestures towards the future’s perpetual uncertainties while also pointing towards an exciting new future.
After dropping its lead single “Hi-Elixir,” Curling has released “Patience,” a sour-and-sweet alt-rock bite, alongside an official video. Gelman shares, “Patience was originally a really languid acoustic song Jojo had written, but it turned into this huge anthemic rock song by the time the rest of the band added to it. It’s full of little details and hooks and was one of the high points of recording No Guitar. Music video director John MacKay took the lyrics about BDSM and the idea of taking pleasure in pain and made a video where the protagonist is being chased through the streets and alleyways of NYC by a Terminator-like dominatrix.”
After COVID hit, Curling would go on effective hiatus for three years. “Coming back together was like pulling teeth,” Gelman recalled. “Jojo hadn’t picked up a guitar in months, and after a certain point we were like, ‘Do we want to be doing this?’” It was only after the pair decamped to Portland with Sterling that “everything started coming together,” and the resulting record strikes a merging of sensibilities that Curling have been working towards since their inception.
“We’ve found a middle ground in our tastes,” Gelman explains. “I’m very much a perfectionist, so when I come to our meetings, I’m planning things out in advance, whereas Jojo is a lot more freeform. There were plenty of moments throughout this record where we put aside ego simply to serve the song.” “We’ve actually gotten better at idea-sharing than we were before,” Brandel adds with a laugh. “As we’ve gotten older, we’ve become more comfortable with working with each others’ songs.”
Fans can experience their captivating live performance on tour this summer supporting Nation Of Language in Portland and Vancouver:
8/11: Portland, OR @ Fixin’ To
8/12: Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall ^
8/13: Portland, OR @ Gloomhouse
8/14: Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater ^
8/16: Grass Valley, CA @ Unchurch
8/17: Upland, CA @ Hyrule Temple
8/18: Oakland, CA @ Oakland Secret
8/19: Seattle, WA @ Central Saloon
8/20: Centralia, WA @ Space Place House
^ = w/ Nation of Language