Saintsenecas Zac Little has been thinking a lot about memory. Not necessarily his memories, though they creep in often, too. Rather, he mulls over the idea of memory itself: its resilience, its haziness, how it slips away as we try to hang on, the way it resurfaces despite our best efforts to forget.
Memory is the common thread running throughout the Columbus folk-punk bands fourth album, Pillar of Na, arriving in late summer via ANTI- Records. Following 2015s critically lauded Such Things, the new albums name is rooted in remembrance, referencing the Genesis story of Lots wife who looks back at a burning Sodom after God instructs her not to. She looks back, and God turns her into a pillar of salt. Na, meanwhile, is the chemical symbol for sodium. Nah is a passive refusal and the universal song word. It means nothing and stands for nothing. It is as it is.
Like Lots wife, Little cannot help but revisit whereand howhe grew up. Raised in church in southeastern Appalachian Ohio, he took up preaching when he was still a teenager, sometimes in small country settings and other times to congregations of thousands. But these days hes more interested in listening. And questioning.
Musically, Pillar of Na is Saintsenecas most ambitious album to date, with Little aiming to incorporate genre elements hed rarely heard in folk. I wanted to use the idiom of folk-rock, or whatever you want to call it, and to try to do something that had never been done before, Little explains. To reach way back, echoing ancient folk melodies, tie that into punk rock, and then push it into the future. I told Mike Mogis I wanted Violent Femmes meets the new Blade Runner soundtrack. Im looking for the intersection between Kendrick Lamar and The Fairport Convention.
Youre always going to be situated in the folk legacy, Little continues, acknowledging his past recordings, which include three albums (the aforementioned Such Things, 2014s Dark Arc, 2011s Last) and three EPs (2016s The Mallwalker, 2010s Grey Flag, and 2009s self-titled). But lets move forward. Im not trying to make the lost Velvet Underground B-side. I want to find something that has never been heard before, or at least go down trying.
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