Last month The Soft Moon - aka Luis Vasquez - announced his signing to Sacred Bones and his fourth studio album Criminaldue for release February 2nd. With the announcement he shared the heavy-hitting single “Burn” and today he returns with another cut from the album, “It Kills.” This latest single, accompanied by a Kelsey Henderson-directed video, trades some of the industrial menace of ”'Burn” for the shimmering melodies of post-punk, yet retains the dark edge that permeates all of Criminal.
Speaking on the track, Vasquez says; “'It Kills' represents my constant struggle with making the same mistakes in order to feed my desires. A continual battle with the conscience. Some inspiration comes from a quote by William Blake: 'Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.'”
LISTEN TO & WATCH THE SOFT MOON - “IT KILLS” HERE:
The Soft Moon also announces his 2018 tour dates, including a month-long North American run with Boy Harsher. See those dates below.
EU TOUR DATES:
02/02 - Baden, CH - One of a Million Festival
02/03 - Marghera, IT - C.S. Rivolta
02/06 - Copenhagen, DK - Pumpehuset
02/07 - Gothenburg, SE - Pustervik
02/08 - Stockholm, SE - Slaktkyrkan
02/09 - Oslo, NO - Bla
02/11 - Berlin, DE - Urban Spree
02/12 - Berlin, DE - Urban Spree
02/14 Paris, FR - Le Trabendo
02/15 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso Noord
02/16 - London, UK - The Dome
02/17 - Brussels, BE - Orangerie (Botanique)
02/18 - Luxembourg, LU - De Gudde Wëllen
02/20 - Yverdon Les Bains, CH - L’Amalgame
02/21 - Milan, IT - Magnolia
02/22 - Rome, IT - Monk
02/23 - Napoli, IT - Lanificio
02/24 - Bologna, IT - Covo
03/07 - Munich, DE - Kranhalle
03/08 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz
03/09 - Hamburg, DE - Hafenklang
03/10 - Cologne, DE - Gebaude 9
03/11 - Saarbrucken, DE - Garage Club
03/13 - Nijmegen, NL - Doomroosje
03/14 - Lille, FR - Les Paradis Artificiels
03/15 - Nantes, FR - Stereolux
03/16 - Lyon, FR - Epicerie Moderne
NA TOUR DATES:
03/27 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s *
03/28 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg *
03/29 - Montreal, QC - Theatre Fairmount
03/30 - Toronto, ON - Longboat Hall *
03/31 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle *
04/02 - Saint Paul, MN - Turf Club *
04/04 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge *
04/06 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
04/07 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
04/08 - Vancouver, BC - The Cobalt *
04/11 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
04/13 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom
04/14 - San Diego, CA - Casbah *
04/16 - Las Vegas, NV - The Bunkhouse *
04/17 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar *
04/19 - Dallas, TX - Three Links *
04/20 - Austin, TX - Barracuda *
04/21 - San Antonio, TX - Paper Tiger *
04/22 - New Orleans, LA - Gasa Gasa *
04/24 - Gainesville, FL - The Wooly *
04/25 - Miami, FL - Gramps *
04/26 - Tampa, FL - The Crowbar
04/27 - Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5 *
04/28 - Asheville, NC - The Mothlight *
04/29 - Washington, DC - DC9 *
* w/ Boy Harsher
Criminal, The Soft Moon's fourth studio album, is a confessional work. Through the stark lens of shame and guilt that has followed Luis Vasquez since a violent childhood growing up within the humming ambient sprawl of 80s Mojave Desert, here he documents the gut-wrenching sound of going to war with himself. Battling with his own sanity, self-hatred, insecurity, self-entitlement and grappling with the risk of these things transforming him into a person he despises, Vasquez has laid his feelings bare with this: his confession and most self-reflective work to date.
“Guilt is my biggest demon and has been following me since childhood. Everything I do strengthens the narrative that I am guilty” Vasquez reflects. “The concept of ‘Criminal’ is a desperate attempt to find relief by both confessing to my wrongdoings and by blaming others for their wrongdoings that have affected me.”
Criminal marks a striking and important chapter in his self-exploration, both artistically and emotionally. As a young musician living in Oakland, Vasquez began to try and process the narrative of his difficult upbringing veiled through musical exploration. Taking krautrock's motorik beats and Post-Punk deconstructions and honing them into a hushed percussive incantation, The Soft Moon's self-titled debut album took shape. The album was released in late 2010 by Captured Tracks and was praised by critics and emulated by contemporaries.
In 2012 the apocalyptic conceptual work of Zeros emerged, shortly followed by Vasquez moving to Venice, Italy in 2013, acting as a catalyst for 2014’s release, Deeper. While previous albums were primarily instrumental records, where Vasquez’s voice was diffused amidst the music as another instrument, Deeper marked the beginning of a new musical direction where vocals and lyrics became something more than a mere presence. Deeper was a descent into the womb of childhood trauma, anxiety and fear, and although Vasquez survived this dark exploration of himself, he did not return alone.
Working once more with Maurizio Baggio, who produced Deeper, at La Distilleria in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy, Criminal sees Vasquez further explore putting his lyrics at the forefront and letting his raw emotions flow. The album begins with a confrontation with his true self through the torrid bass lines and searing vocals of “Burn”; a song evoking a loss of control akin to demonic possession, stating: “Eyes, reflecting the person that I am, and it burns”. In this track Vasquez's guilt bores deeper and deeper into a condemnation that ultimately is: “Fire, hell is where I'll go to live, so I burn”.
“Burn” is followed by the caustic bass, mechanized rhythms, and numbing emulsions of “Choke,” a song about the amplifying and anesthetizing effect of cocaine, a drug whose darker side Vasquez is not unfamiliar with. The next track “Give Something” is a subterranean love song from the deepest depths, with harrowingly despondent lyrics, seeking hope in a sea of shame.
The album continues its thematic inner conflict in the Industrial/EBM percussion and distorted high attack bass of “Like a Father”, a song reflecting Vasquez's anger towards the father that abandoned him. “This head is a problem/You're the ghost of my problem/Something's got to give” pleads Vasquez as revving guitars invoke chainsaws before the song’s final lines search for closure: to kill the father within himself.
The album closes with title track “Criminal”; a despondent resignation to guilt; bereft, broken, and bruised, with lyrics that confess: “It's the way I cross the line, it's the way I open, it's the way to my decline, it's the way I'm broken”. The song, like the album itself, is Vasquez's way of holding himself accountable and seeking redemption for the abuse he inflicts on himself, and acknowledges roots in the abuse which, inflicted upon him as a child, broke him.