Formats and Editions
Daniel Boeckner understands the grit and gravel that accumulates in the heart and that it takes an unwavering courage to crack through that clutter and burrow to the other side. And in Boeckner’s hands, that quest comes via post-apocalyptic synth and guitar heroism, a rallying cry for those always coming home through the scorched clouds. Throughout his work with Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits, Operators, Atlas Strategic, and more, the iconic Canadian indie rocker recognizes that few feelings are more gratifying—more memorable, more generative, more abundant—than hope. But it takes getting the hell out of your own way. A culmination of that deep library of musical reference, Boeckner is set to release his first album under his own name: Boeckner!
No matter where his genre exploration has taken him, there’s something about growing up in punk and DIY spaces that puts collaboration in Boeckner’s blood. Composed of a collection of intimately familiar elements, Boeckner! elicits the same thrill of young passion and discovery. It’s a jet-powered chase through a tech-noir cityscape—fueled by a dream and that special someone in the passenger seat.
That urgency and passion have always been a trademark of Boeckner’s, and writing on his own pushes those feelings further into the center of the scope. But while Boeckner may be the clear driving force behind the album, he’s not without collaborators for his solo debut. After meeting producer Randall Dunn while contributing to the soundtrack to the Nicolas Cage-starring psychedelic horror film Mandy, Boeckner knew he’d found the perfect counterpart for his solo debut. “I’d been a fan of his forever, especially the Sunn0))) records he produced,” Boeckner says. “Working with Randall really unlocked some suppressed musical urges, things that I enjoy in my private life but don’t normally weave into what I’m releasing—like occult synth, pseudo-metal, krautrock, and heavy psych influences.”
That base allows Boeckner to thoughtfully weave between emotional imagism and more grounded storytelling. Throughout the record, his imagery delves into science fiction, but it’s charged first and foremost by experience. The trio of Boeckner, Dunn, and drummer Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Fiona Apple) formed a sort of dark engine for the album, and Chamberlain’s ingenious approach of triggering a vintage Arp synthesizer simultaneously with each drum track helped Boeckner shape the record’s atmosphere. That tense futurism was influenced by Boeckner’s time staying in Dunn’s Circular Ruin studio, a dusky, electronic aura burned into every track.
By the end of the album, Boeckner! eases from sci-fi epic into something more akin to a torched VHS copy of a John Cassevetes film, the chemtrails and nuclear fallout fading long in the distance. Like all good sci-fi, the emotion and pain hits home for the author and listener alike, and the genre flourishes bolster the human experience. In revealing more than ever before, Boeckner! ratchets up the musical intensity to unforeseen levels and hopes to find some peace at the end of the journey.