words by tom johnson
photograph by kaila barattini
“It started as a timid lo fi bedroom project made up of minimalist iphone voice memos and slowly grew into a more developed project,” Alejandro Skalany says of his New Holland outfit, whose brilliant new record, Alligator, is released this-coming Friday but streaming in full for you here from today.
Shifting between tender songwriting and a more bold approach, the record draws influences from the likes of Elliott Smith and Death Cab but comfortably sit alongside Slaughter Beach, Dog as one of the year’s more compelling acts of ‘stripping back’; Alejandro’s musical day-job sees sees taking the reigns of the mighty Pope alongside Matthew Seferian.
“The songs centre around anxiety, love, dreams, and living a bedroom locked, heat escaping life in New Orleans,” Skalany adds for context, though you don’t need to know anything about his previous work to cherry-pick a couple of those sentiments; poignancy is never far from the surface here, no matter how bright the tracks appear on the surface. Bathed in shadow throughout, Alligator is one of those records that feels dramatically shaped by the weather, from the trapped nature of a storm to the prickly imbalance caused by the relentless heat of the summer.
The opening, title-track immediately sets the tone, a tightly-wound, half-buried strum that draws you in to New Holland’s somewhat murky world; ‘Ghost Town’ melds Either/Or guitar with a suitably gnarly vocal, while “Hey Pal, We All Look Up To You” might be the best track Alex G never wrote and ‘Somebody Touched A Button’ is a gentle late-night unrolling that quietly highlights Skalany’s gentle touch amid heavier surrounding material.
“This album in particular took a lot out of me,” Skalany says of Alligator. “I recorded and finished the whole thing about a year and a half ago and then scrapped it and redid everything again and just got too obsessive about it being good enough. Today I called it done and I’m excited to share it with you.”
A shadowed but charming ode to the importance of keeping-on, we’re very pleased to present the album in full here today – check it out below right now.
12/1 oxford, ms / rose room
12/2 Memphis, tn / house
12/3 Nashville, tn / east room
12/4 raleigh, nc / slim’s
12/6 boston, ma / o’brien’s tavern
12/7 burlington, vt / radio bean
12/9 philadelphia, pa / house
12/10 new york city / rockwood music hall
12/11 brooklyn, ny / gold sounds
12/12 washington dc / the black cat
12/13 columbus, oh / middle earth
12/14 chicago, il / schubas
12/15 st. louis, mo / a benefit for St. Louis legal fund @ livery company
12/17 new orleans, la / poor boys