LANDROID | IMPERIAL DUNES | MOJAVE BEACH records | SEPT. 13TH, 2019
Cooper Gillespie (vocals, guitar, bass) and Greg Gordon (drums, sequences) of LANDROID are veteran performers that have traveled the world as professional musicians. Now they live in the California town of Landers. Population: 2,632.
The music that Gillespie and Gordon are making as LANDROID, so named as a reference to their new home, is as vast as the environment in which it was created. Following years of playing variations on the Los Angeles-based punk and rock hybrid, Gillespie and Gordon settled in a desert land and became a desert band. The duo’s debut album Imperial Dunes arrives on Sept. 13th via their own Mojave Beach Records label.
“They are the largest mass of sand dunes in California,” Gillespie says of the actual Imperial Dunes, another real-life location that contributed to the name game. Turns out the “DROID” in LANDROID has a connection, too: “In Return of the Jedi, the Imperial Sand Dunes are the location of Jabba’s Palace,” Gillespie adds.
This bit of connect-the-dots finds its way back to the deeper substance that makes LANDROID’s songs stick. Giant production makes Gordon’s thudding kick drum sound as huge as the nearby Giant Rock Vortex, where it is believed that Earth’s magnetic energy lines intersect.
“They say it channels psychic energy,” Gordon says. “We know it sounds hippie-dippy, but we swear we can feel it.” Believe the mystical hype or not, Gordon’s drum sounds arrive from another planet.
“The dunes feel like an appropriate metaphor for life,” Gillespie observes, grounding her lyrical themes. “Nature is the ultimate power and just as the dunes change day-to-day, everything in life is constantly changing. We like to think we are in control, but nature reclaims us.”
LANDROID’s “Recommended If You Like” is more like a “Recommended If You’ve Lived.” It’s a list of inspirations and influences that read like whole lifestyles unto themselves.
Imperial Dunes sounds just like ‘em:
David Lynch, David Bowie, outer space, X, Cocteau Twins, William Blake, Blade Runner, Led Zeppelin, Buddy Rich, scuba diving, Portishead, Pink Floyd, Angela Carter, the ocean.
Even a pair of cover tunes, Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” (a cover of a cover: “We were inspired by the pathos of Billy Swann‟s 1975 version”) and Plastic Bertrand’s “Ça Plane Pour Moi,” could be mistaken for originals if the lyrics didn’t give them away.
The album’s originals, especially first single and music video “Yellow Sea,” prove the concept. Lush, but not lost in itself, the song and its visual representation are otherworldly and familiar at the same time.
“Yellow Sea” is a meditation on the hereafter,” Gillespie states. “The video depicts a journey through a portal to the afterlife, and we see that it’s not so scary after the initial shock. There’s actually a lot of wonder and joy on the other side.”
Back in the reality of his current “this side” life in small-town Landers, Gordon notes, “Oftentimes, there are more dogs than people in the bars.”
LANDROID recognizes the wonder and joy on this side, too.
Imperial Dunes by LANDROID arrives on Sept. 13th, 2019 preceded by the single “Yellow Sea” on July 12th.