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Known for their uniquely brooding sound that frequently conjures desolate imagery, on Bitter Drink, Bitter MoonMurder By Death capture a familiar tone but also explore new territory, adding a further refined sophistication and even richer, full-bodied sound. The varied album ranges musically from the spooky and spare opener “My Hill”, to the rough, rousing sing-along “Hard World”, to the booming, aching waltz of “Ghost Fields.” Songs like the cinematic “LostRiver” start hushed before rising to a lush crescendo, while “No Oath, No Spell” maintains a dramatic, bluesy swing, and first single “I Came Around” rumbles and rollicks with a hard-charging, barroom flair. Singer Adam Turla’s cavernous baritone tells shadowy small-town stories throughout, the songs’ oftentimes-upbeat veneer belying a sordid undercurrent. Across Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon Sarah Balliet’s sonorous cello and Scott Brackett’s multiple instruments (backing vocals, piano, trumpet, and accordion, to name a few) weave irreplaceable accents, and Dagan Thogerson’s robust drums and Matt Armstrong’s inventive bass lines create a resounding low end.
Murder By Death wrote Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon – their first album featuring contributions from Brackett (formerly of Okkervil River and Shearwater)– throughout most of 2011, testing and reworking the songs in Turla’s basement-turned-practice-space. In January, they traveled to Dallas, TX to record with producer John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky, St. Vincent, Black Mountain) over three weeks.
Beginning July 12th, Murder By Death will head out on a North American headlining tour that continues through August 25th. The tour includes a July 17th show at Webster Hall inNew York and an August 3rd show at the El Rey Theatre inLos Angeles, as well as two-night stands at the Bottom of the Hill inSan Francisco on August 4th and 5th and at the Bluebird Theater inDenver on August 16th and 18th. This summer also marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Like The Exorcist, But More Breakdancing, the band’s first LP, and in celebration they will be playing rarely performed tracks from the album throughout the summer tour, in addition to previewing songs from Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon.