We don't blame you for being all "Who the heck are the Avalanches??!?" on this glorious spring morning. After all, the Australian electronic collective only released one album, and that album was released in November 2000, back when Al Gore and George W. Bush were still fighting over Florida. That's a long time ago!
Yet the Avalanches' debut album Since I Left You represents one of the defining (if not THE defining) Napster-era release, a pastiche of samples blended together in such a personal way that the technologically enhanced tracks sounded downright intimate. It's also just an absolute blast to listen to, from the sunny dance-pop of "Since I Left You" (it opens the album with the declaration "Welcome to paradise!") to the joyfully bizarre shouting match of prescriptions that is the single "Frontier Psychiatrist." Pitchfork named it one of the 10 best albums of the 2000s; Questlove said it was one of his 10 favorite LPs ever. Smarter people have written sharper things about the importance of Since I Left You over the past decade and a half, but part of the reason why the Avalanches are still a big deal is because Since I Left You really is that simultaneously crowd-pleasing and innovative.
The other part of the reason why the Avalanches are a big deal: They disappeared for an impossibly long amount of time. People are giving Frank Ocean shit for not having the follow-up to his 2012 album ready; imagine quadrupling that wait, and you realize just how long of a journey the Melbourne collective has been on. The Avalanches have been talking about their second album since at least 2005, with hints at collaborations, but no actual music released… and no interviews given about what the holdup was. The second Avalanches album slowly became folklore; even D'angelo had a shorter wait between albums!
Which brings us to last night: At long last, the Avalanches dropped a new song, a new video, an album title, a release date and their first interview in many, many years, all in the span of an hour. For fans of the group, it felt like a fever dream.
Wildflower, the 21-song second Avalanches album that probably won't sound anything like the Sheryl Crow album of the same name, will be released on July 8, via Astralwerks in the United States. The first single, "Frankie Sinatra," was released on Wednesday night and features Danny Brown and MF DOOM, as well as samples of Wilmoth Houdini's voice and the freaking Sound of Music, in a wild pop mind-fuck that fits right in with the highlights of Since I Left You. Meanwhile, the video for "Frankie Sinatra" (below) features hallucinogenic ice cream and swamp fighting. It is worth your time.
"What kept us going during the making this record was a belief in the day-to-day experience of music as a life force - as life energy," says Robbie Chater, who now leads a reshuffled Avalanches lineup with Tony Di Blasi. "Hearing a certain song on a certain morning can change your day; it can make the world look different, changing the way you perceive light refracting through the atmosphere for the rest of the afternoon. Literally changing the color and feeling-tone of your world."
The Avalanches also spoke to Zane Lowe on Apple Music Beats 1 for their first interview about the new album; they mentioned that they more music in the works too. Click here to explore the chat.
Whether you're completely new to the Avalanches or a diehard who has kept a tally of the days since Since I Left You dropped (over 5,500!), it's time to get excited. Check out the Wildflower track list below:
1. The Leaves Were Falling
2. Because I'm Me
3. Frankie Sinatra
5. Going Home
6. If I Was A Folkstar
9. Noisy Eater
12. Live A Lifetime Love
13. Park Music
14. Livin' Underwater (Is Somethin' Wild)
15. The Wozard Of Iz
16. Over The Turnstiles
18. Light Up
19. Kaleidoscopic Lovers
21. Saturday Night Inside Out