Arjuna Oakes & Serebii - Tired Faces

Arjuna Oakes & Serebii release "Tired Faces," the first single off the forthcoming Final Days EP due out on October 14, 2022

Oakes and Serebii, a.k.a. Callum Mower, met while playing sold out shows together, but they knew then that it was just the beginning of something bigger. They were serving as hired guns in a popular surf rock band, touring their native Aotearoa New Zealand in mid-size venues, tearing it up, helping others realize their musical vision. That was great, but the friendship forged between the two of them in the process was the real bounty: “We got on like a house on fire,” says Mower. “And we’d end up sticking together through festivals or hanging out at parties.”

“Just like a brother,” Oakes jumps in. 
Back in their base of Wellington, Oakes and Mower kept hanging out and playing together—except this time they were making music more like what was calling to them personally. When Oakes was working on his solo work—jazzy chillhop with an alt-rock twist—he would call on Mower to pop in to help with some of his velvet-y production skills. And when Mower needed a killer voice or a compositional tweak on something he was working on—often psych-infused grooves—he had Oakes on speed-dial. It wasn’t long before they realized that they should be working together in earnest. 
Something like if Portishead collaborated with Flying Lotus, 2021’s First Nights EP was an introduction to the duo as a singular act, and “Even When You’re Gone,” a funky chiller Oakes wrote while going through a tough breakup, quickly found its way onto endless streaming playlists looking to harness the vibe. The EP sounds like a million bucks, but was in fact largely recorded over several months in Mower’s bedroom, “with just an SM57 [mic] and no gear whatsoever,” laughs Oakes. “It’s quite nice recording over a longer period of time,” says Oakes, “because you can really mold the songs the way that you want to.”
They soon decided to keep the momentum going, creating a second EP, Final Days, designed to be “a sister record” for First Nights. This new one was put together in much the same way as the first: songwriting duties were shared between the two, with Oakes handling most of the singing and all of the keys and synths, and Mower leading the production duties and playing almost all the guitar and bass parts. (A few friends also helped with drums/percussion and trumpet parts.) By and large, it was recorded in Mower’s bedroom, his cat crawling on their shoulders throughout.
You can feel the push and pull of each personality on certain tracks, swirling together in a collage of various talents and sensibilities. On “Flavour,” a club-ready track that Oakes brought in, Mower’s Chic-ish guitar licks shimmy into the mix, and on “Tired Faces,” a track that Mower brought in, Oakes’ Thom Yorke–reminiscent pipes turn the song into a pure vapor—more a gas hovering in the landscape than a file on a computer. “We both grew up in thick, thick nature,” notes Mower. “I’m forever searching for ways to recreate what nature does.” 
Like First Nights, Final Days was also similarly inspired by a form of grief. Rather than a breakup, Oakes was dealing with the impending loss of a beloved grandparent this time around, and was trying to process the experience through music. “I was losing my granddad to cancer, and I knew it was coming,” he explains. “So it’s a kind of a thing of letting go of people you love.”
“Make this pain feel small / Crave the moments that I once never noticed,” Oakes sings on the song “Final Days,” over an intricate nylon-string progression. The track begins with a voicemail that was left for Mower by his grandmother, who’s still with us, “and is such a character,” according to Oakes. “I’m very grateful [Mower] put that clip in because I wrote that song about my granddad who just passed away,” Oakes says. “It felt right to make it about our grandparents. And our loved ones.” 
“I’m not strolling down the avenue, but I’m thinking of you,” Mower’s grandmother says, over a laugh. “OK, darling, lots of love. Bye.”
Dendrons x Wait In Line

Chicago-based five-piece, Dendrons are sharing their new single, "Wait in Line" – it's the latest to be lifted from their forthcoming second album, 5-3-8 which is out on August 26.  The band announced the record alongside their signing to Innovative Leisure last month with "Double Ending" which was tipped at Under the Radar upon release – the new single, which comes with an animation directed by Rapapawn Studio's Óscar Raña and Cynthia Alfonso doubles down on the band's agitated Krautrock-inflected art-rock which has previously found them open for the likes A Place to Bury Strangers, Omni, FRIGS and The KVB. The band will be touring the US later this month/next with dates in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and more – full run below.

5-3-8 – titled as a reference to the lyrical refrain that appears at a few points of the album of “fifths, thirds, octaves only” – was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas and Highland Recording Studio in Phoenix, Arizona; it was produced by Tony Brant and Sonny Di Perri (Protomartyr, DIIV, Nine Inch Nails, Animal Collective, Emma Ruth Rundle, Dirty Projectors) before being mastered at Elysian Sound by Dave Cooley. "Wait in Line" showcases bubblegum-pop-adjacent guitar lines and Motorik beats – it ebbs and flows throughout, showing dynamic to the band's sound and ability to blend the loud with occasional moments of respite. 

Speaking about the single, singer/guitarist, Dane Jarvie says: "The song is influenced by “The Lottery in Babylon,” a short story by the magical realism author, Jorge Luis Borges. Dealing with the role that chance supposedly plays in life, and a political and socio-economic system that operates and revolves around that variable as dogma, followed by its subsequent corruption of it. In many ways, it is a criticism of the human tendency to claim dominion of nature and capitalize on it anyway."

Check out "Wait In Line"

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