Braids’ new EP Companion follows last year’s JUNO Award-winning and Polaris Music Prize-shortlisted Deep In The Iris. Deep In The Iris launched several worldwide tours and garnered the Montreal-based band international critical acclaim for their pristine, intricately ornamented electronic pop music, and this new 19 minute EP further explores the sonic vistas introduced on that album.
The band completed the tracks on Companion during a burst of creative energy this past August, burrowing deeper into the sonic world they mapped out on the album while digging into new modes of expression and composition. Far from being outtakes or B-sides, the EP presents a beguiling study of extremes —from joy to disaffection, thunderous explosion to delicate introspection— as a cohesive whole. From the rhythmically provocative and melodically supple “Joni” — which conjures a dream meeting of Bjork and Aphex Twin— to the nakedly powerful minimalist arrangement on “Companion” and the patient blossoming of “Sweet World”, Companion once again demonstrates Braids’ ability to fuse emotionally powerful songs with their gorgeous, unerring production sensibilities.
The four pieces of music on Companion offer a brief snapshot of a constantly-evolving group perpetually finding their way forward and exploring the edges of a totally distinctive voice. Though it uses Deep In The Iris as a compositional guidepost, Companion is a breathtaking journey all of its own.
The Companion release is accompanied by a gorgeous new video for the EP’s title track, and the band is thrilled to have worked once again with Vancouver-based director Kevan Funk, who also helmed last year’s “Taste” and “Miniskirt” videos. Funk is well known for his music videos for artists such as The Zolas and Wake Owl, as well as acclaimed indie films Everything All At Once, Yellowhead, and Destroyer.
Vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston has also penned an essay for Pitchfork’s column “The Pitch”. The piece is a powerfully honest exploration of Raphaelle’s feelings surrounding the real-life circumstances that inform the narrative of some of her more recent songs, including “Companion” and last year’s “Miniskirt”, which was hailed by Stereogum as “one of the most spine chilling feminist anthems [of 2015]”.
Raphaelle’s own experiences as a survivor of sexual abuse are brought to the fore, and she speaks candidly of how this informed her art. “It’s been an attempt to regain control and agency over something that left me feeling powerless and confused for years,” she says. Raphaelle makes a compelling case for the ongoing exposure of these types of stories to those who are unfamiliar, stating that “through sharing and discussion, we have the power to help one another heal from the hurt we cannot control.”
And finally, Braids is preparing to take the Companion material on the road for three months of tour dates in North America and Europe. The band is scheduled to play a number of truly monumental music events, some of the biggest of their career, and, indeed, some of the larger worldwide outlets for contemporary pop music today. Interspersed with club dates in major cities, the band will perform at major festivals including Britain’s legendary Glastonbury Festival, the Wayhome festival located in the bucolic Ontario countryside, British Columbia’s massive Pemberton Festival, and the Calgary Folk Music Festival. The dates will wrap with three nights on their home turf at the much-loved Montreal venue Casa del Popolo.
Braids on Tour:
06 – Lawnya Vawnya Festival – St. John’s, NL
14 – FORM Arcosanti Festival – Arcosanti, AZ
25 – Swedish American Hall – San Francisco, CA
26 – Echo – Los Angeles, CA
27 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
31 – Great Scott – Boston, MA
01 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
02 – Comet Ping Pong – Washington, DC
03 – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
04 – Ritual – Ottawa, ON
17 – The Hug & Pint – Glasgow, UK
18 – Soup Kitchen – Manchester, UK
19 – O2 Academy – Oxford, UK
21 – Patterns – Brighton, UK
22 – Start The Bus – Bristol, UK
23 – Pickle Factory – London, UK
26 – Glastonbury Festival – Pilton, UK
27 – Arts Centre – Norwich, UK
15 – Pemberton Festival – Pemberton, BC
22 – Wayhome Festival – Oro-Medonte, ON
23 – Calgary Folk Festival – Calgary, AB
27 – Casa Del Popolo – Montreal, QC
28 – Casa Del Popolo – Montreal, QC