Hardly Art has signed Brooklyn trio IAN SWEET (formerly IAN). Shapeshifter is the band’s first-ever full length album, which will be released on CD, LP, digital and cassette formats Friday, September 9th. Earlier today, They premiered the new single “Slime Time Live.” The song’s title references an early aughts Nickelodeon show, though its subject matter is weighty (the emotional quicksand of heartbreak and anxiety), and given striking dimension by frontwoman Jilian Medford’s guileless gem of a voice.
IAN SWEET perform tonight in Cambridge at Middle East Downstairs with labelmates Colleen Green and Chastity Belt, and tomorrow night in Brooklyn at a sold-out Market Hotel show with the same pairing. In addition to releasing Shapeshifter this fall, IAN SWEET’s 2014 debut EP has been remastered and re-released. This six song self-titled release is available today from Hardly Art on digital/streaming and cassette formats.
About the record:
“I have a way of loving too many things to take on just one shape,” Jilian Medford sings over and over again on the title track of the Brooklyn-based band IAN SWEET’s debut album, Shapeshifter, repeating it like a mantra. This is Medford’s thesis statement, a narrator to carry us through Shapeshifter, which is above all else a meditation on loneliness and displacement. It’s about losing love and your sense of self in the process, about grabbing at the little things in life that bring joy when nothing else is going according to plan. It’s also an ode to the bandmates, and the friends, that see you through.
IAN SWEET started in 2014 with a string of text messages. Medford was a few days away from embarking on her first tour when the driver and drummer she recruited cancelled. Medford sent IAN SWEET drummer Tim Cheney — whom she barely knew — a series of desperate messages, asking if he knew how to drum and whether or not he would be willing to take two weeks off of life to go on tour. Cheney responded soon after with a simple: “Yes.”
Medford and Cheney’s friendship evolved from their time spent on the road into something that she describes as intuitive, telepathic. At the time, Medford had been performing solo under the moniker IAN — in honor of the nickname her skater friends gave her in high school — and put out a self-recorded EP titled Have You Ever Loved Anything This Much. That year, she and Cheney enlisted bassist Damien Scalise, and IAN SWEET became a trio. Medford describes Cheney and Scalise as polar opposites that compliment one another; two charged forces that she mediates, forming a platonic balance that brought Medford stability at a time when she didn’t have any.
While she was writing Shapeshifter, Medford’s life was in turmoil. She ended an emotionally abusive relationship in Boston, graduated from Berklee College of Music, and briefly moved home to the San Fernando Valley, thinking she would stay there. Medford was unsure of the band’s future and suffering from a severe, undiagnosed panic disorder. When she returned to Boston to record the album in July of 2015 alongside Cheney and Scalise, Medford was reminded of everything she’d hoped to escape after graduation. She felt stagnant; trudging through a quicksand made up of heartbreak and severe depression, a process she references on Shapeshifter’s “Slime Time Live”…
06.15.16 – Brooklyn, NY – Market Hotel * %
09.06.16 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East Upstairs #
09.07.16 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle #
09.08.16 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery $
09.09.16 – Brooklyn, NY – Album Release Show at Shea Stadium #
09.10.16 – Lancaster, PA – Lizard Lounge $
09.11.16 – Pittsburgh, PA – Black Forge #
09.13.16 – Toronto, ON – Drake Hotel #
09.14.16 – Montreal, QC – Casa del Popolo
* – w/ Colleen Green, Chastity Belt
% – w/ Harmony Tividad (Girlpool)
$ – w/ Diet Cig
# – w/ Horse Jumper of Love