Listen to the debut album from The Vacant Lots in full, with a track by track description from the band


Today (30 June 2014), Burlington duo The Vacant Lots release their debut album, ‘Departure’, via London psych label Sonic Cathedral. Here’s an exclusive stream of the record in full, alongside a special track by track rundown from the band themselves.

We recorded this one in Austin, Texas with The Black Angels’ FOH main man Brett Orrison. The demo is very different to the studio version. Brian set up shop in front of a Fender Twin and laid down the organ/synth parts on the spot; a completely spontaneous development of parts. The middle spoken word section was rewritten in the studio in about an hour of revision and refinement. An old microphone was employed and the track was recorded fairly quickly before cutting out to play a music festival in Austin later that night.

The transformation of this song from the early primitive demo to fully realised studio version, and then the spontaneity of reinterpreting it for playing live has been fundamental in leading us towards new ideas of songwriting, and the genesis of what will come next.

This song has gone through many permutations. Having a chance to collaborate with Dean Wareham was certainly a highlight for us. He brought a unique perspective to the song and added the only guitar solo on the album. Dean’s lyrics and guitar playing have been a huge source of inspiration for us and having him on this track was as significant as it was essential to the overall sound of the song.

Initially this track started out with a misinterpretation of the chord progression of ‘Tugboat’ by Galaxie 500. Sticking with the two chords, the early demo seeds took place in Montreal.

Half the song was written during the initial songwriting sessions for ‘Departure’. The other half of the song was written at Magic Hat Studios in NYC. Stumbling on an acoustic guitar in the basement of the studio, Jared hashed out a few chords and reworked the chorus. This track was recorded in Buffalo, NY with Kyle Chunco and Ben Kindzia.

6 AM
The first song written for the album – it set the pace for the record. The song was birthed at Ultra Vivid Studios (Vacant Lots headquarters in Burlington, Vermont). Brian’s electronics set the pace for what became a strange manipulation of the guitar amp, Vox Phantom, tremolo and fuzz. Creating a ‘jet-engine/ blown-speaker’ sound on guitars and pulsating hypnotic electronics, Brian started singing and literally note for note and word for word stuck. What you hear on the recording is what we heard that day in rehearsal, but just ten times louder. The album version was recorded in one take.

The lyrics and rhythm guitar parts were written before heading into the studio, everything else was made up on the spot. The Native American-styled drumming and guitars were laid down in one take. It was the last song on the album to be recorded.

The dynamic and contrast of the guitar lines and vocals was important in the structure of how we arranged and recorded the song. Part of the distinctive guitar tone on the album came from two opposing Silvertone 1484 amps. One amp was revved up on fast tremolo, while the other was fuelled by a slow tremolo effect creating this undulating, strobe-like effect.

Order a copy of ‘Departure’