Photo by Matthew Mendanhall
Circles Around The Sun will release their new double album, Let It Wander, this Friday, August 17 via Rhino Records on limited edition vinyl, CD and digital formats. It’s the first new music from the quartet since their acclaimed 2015 debut, Interludes For The Dead. In advance of this week’s release, Ultimate Classic Rock has premiered the video for the album’s second single, “One For Chuck,” directed by Steve Mertens (watch and share here). It features a cameo by hip-hop legend Chuck D. The charismatic leader of hip-hop pioneers Public Enemy happened to stop by the studio they were recording and overheard the session. He raved to the band how much he loved the music, so they asked him to record an intro. He obliged, and they dedicated the song to him. Watch and share “One For Chuck” here.
Circles Around the Sun (CATS) was born when guitarist Neal Casal was asked to record a handful of Grateful Dead-influenced instrumentals to be played during the set breaks at the Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concerts in 2015. He configured a band featuring keyboardist Adam MacDougall (his bandmate in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood) along with bassist Dan Horne and drummer Mark Levy. Initially, it was only meant to be a one off recording session. But the response was so positive, and the band was having so much fun making music together, that they all agreed to keep it going.
Let It Wander (available here for pre-order) signals a new beginning for the band as they move beyond their original musical mandate of evoking the spirit of the Dead and fully embrace their own personality. Recorded earlier this year at Castaway 7 Studios in California, CATS cut seven instrumentals for the album that explore new musical horizons. “More than anything, what you hear on this album is a band growing into its own sound,” Casal says.
The songs on Let It Wander are focused and filled with imaginative musical turns. Horne and Levy form a veritable groove machine that knows intuitively when to tighten up and when to stretch out. They expand and collapse the rhythmic pocket around Casal and MacDougall, who pass melodies back and forth in an elaborate game of musical tag as they take turns adding color and shade from a seemingly endless kaleidoscope of cosmic sounds. David Fricke at Rolling Stone writes in a review of the recording: “‘Let It Wander’ is a two-CD set of even deeper spells that thread suggestions of Little Feat–style grooves and Bernie Worrell‘s percolating synthesizers in Parliament-Funkadelic through the German mid-Seventies space travel of Tangerine Dream and the offbeat churn of the Dead’s ‘Estimated Prophet.'”
Circles Around The Sun’s individual members are busier than ever due to participation in other projects, but the band plans to tour behind the album as their schedules permit. Seven shows have already been announced, including five East Coast and two West Coast dates with more expected to be added shortly.
CIRCLES AROUND THE SUN
August 22 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar
August 23 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
August 24 – Ardmore, PA – The Ardmore Music Hall
August 25 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
August 26 – Pine Plains, NY – Huichica East
September 27 – San Rafael, CA – Terrapin Crossroads
September 28 – Half Moon Bay, CA – Old Princeton Landing
LET IT WANDER
1. “On My Mind”
2. “One For Chuck”
3. “Immovable Object”
5. “Tacoma Narrows”
6. “Electric Chair (Don’t Sit There)”
7. “Ticket To Helix NGC 7293”