New Jersey psychedelic art-rock collective Elk City announces that they will release their seventh album ‘Undertow’ on September 22. Ahead of that, they present the voluminous consciousness-building lead track ‘Strong (You’re Not Alone)’ , a swirling neo-psychedelic folk song baked in cult obsessiveness.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by renowned producer Ray Ketchem (Guided By Voices, Luna, Gramercy Arms), ‘Undertow’ will be released via Montclair, NJ-based Magic Door Record Label, co-founded by Guided by Voices‘ Kevin March with Ketchem and artist Renée LoBue.
Like their latest ‘Above the Water’ LP, this record is inspired by the band’s love of documentaries like ‘The Source Family’ and ‘Wild, Wild Country’ – films that explore the allure of cults and extreme alternative lifestyles.
It sure is tempting to join a cult. To drop whatever it is we do over and over and just plain start over, with a fresh sense of community and identity and a new way to love and live and be in this world a whole other way. Cult-life can’t be any crazier than how we’re doing it now, in this backwards, modern world in which we find ourselves. So… it could be time to X out of this celestial Zoom, peel off the athleisure wear and slap on a space tunic that says, ‘Hey, I’ve found something else, and this is my new family now and they can give me inner peace and Heaven on Earth in exchange for letting go of everything I thought I was and society expects me to be’.
Let’s do it.
This is the pull of ‘Undertow’, sucking you into a different kind of record from the opening title track. Peculiar pop constructs built of rare materials, found only in the wilds behind Magic Door Recording Studio in Montclair, NJ. which legendary studio designer George Augspurger helped transform from a cavernous warehouse into a freeform studio where vintage microphones, modern studio gear, and bespoke sound tuning elevate and inspire.
This is where Elk City’s founding members, Renée LoBue and Ray Ketchem, along with Luna’s Sean Eden, Richard Baluyut (Versus) and Chris Robertson (Psychedelic Furs side project Feed, Punch Havana) have meticulously built this record and this band a whole other way. Even after seven albums, Elk City are still deliberately hard to define, still seekers, unafraid to shed this life and lead the listener on a journey to new sounds and feelings… Welcome to Elk City.
“’Strong (You’re Not Alone)’ just may be the highest of heights we’ve reached as songwriting collaborators. A ‘non-single’ single, unapologetically present in its dream catcher-waving vibe. The least pop of pop songs on our upcoming Undertow LP, yet here it is, served up first: Sprawling, moody, nonsensical, captivating, and much like Rob Zombie sang: More Human than Human. Baby steps in believing in oneself. “Ooh, you never know what you’re made of till you climb the top.” Let this one guide you, heal you, inspire you, strengthen you. Hacky sacks optional. Also: It’s way cheaper than therapy,” says Renee LoBue.
Ray Ketchem adds, “Strong (You’re Not Alone)” is an example, where we let the song forge our path. We observe, listen and follow where it leads, but we relinquish control in order to open the channels within ourselves”.
As of July 19, ‘Strong (You’re Not Alone)’ will be available across fine digital outlets, including Apple Music, Spotify and Bandcamp. , where the full ‘Undertow’ album (out September 22) may also be pre-ordered.
Written and performed by Elk City
Renee LoBue – vocals
Richard Baluyut – bass
Sean Eden – guitar
Chris Robertson – guitar
Ray Ketchem – drums
Recorded, mixed and masted by Ray Ketchem
Produced by Ray Ketchem
Created at Magic Door Recording, Montclair, NJ
© 2023 sound is crazy music (BMI)
Single cover photo by Ray Ketchem
Video directed, filmed and edited by Ray Ketchem
featuring Renee LoBue, Chris Robertson and Richard Baluyut
Filmed at Eagle Rock Reservation & Kip’s Castle Park, Essex County NJ
‘Strong (You’re Not Alone)’ https://youtu.be/G6Um2_CQWNE
Get the single https://bit.ly/3NX8ANW
‘Undertow’ LP pre-order https://elkcity.bandcamp.com/
“Elk City’s cool and elegant sound draws on 1980s “dream pop” and bits of 1960s folk-rock” ~ The New York Times
“Softly beaten drums and tremolo guitar guide us into the song… allows the song to ebb and flow around the gentle charm of acoustic instruments and the grit of the electric” ~ Joyzine
“This music is sophisticated – vivacious, harmonious and memorable due to many factors, not least of all is the remarkable vocal timbre and convincing delivery of vocalist Renée LoBue, recalling Eddie Brickell at times and Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick at others” ~ Music-News.com
“Formidable… animated, brazen and effervescent. LoBue’s commanding vocals are the icing on the cake… highly infectious” ~ The Spill Magazine