One of my favorite records from 2011 was from a group of four young kids from Montreal – just out of high school really – who decided one day that they wanted to start an experimental art band that not a lot of people will get. That band was Braids. And the music they created was altogether beautiful and moody and uncomfortable. I loved it.
So I was pretty much excited when I found out that Raphaelle Standell-Preston has her own side project that she shares with longtime (and very special) friend, Alexander “Agor” Cowan. Their band is called Blue Hawaii and it actually had its origins before Braids started. Untogether is their debut record after only putting out an EP, Blooming Summer, a couple years ago. In that time since the release of their EP though, the couple had been away from each other – Raphaelle busy with Braids and Alexander travelling overseas to Europe. Untogether is their document of being far apart.
Similar to Braids‘ debut record Native Speaker, the music from Untogether is raw and vulnerable. You can hear the tension in Standell-Preston when she sings. While Native Speaker is in a sense, an angrier record, Untogether feels more sensual and more tender. It feels delicate and needs to be taken care of. Untogether also incorporates more of a choppy electronic bit into its production, giving it a bit of a more rhythmic beat. It is altogether a very lovely record – challenging but arresting.
Blue Hawaii are coming to St Louis! They’ll be opening for Purity Ring at Plush on 4/6 (tickets here)
Stream two of the standout tracks from Untogether – Try To Be and In Two, embedded below.
Blue Hawaii – Untogether comes out 3/5 via Arbutus (order here)