Circles Around The Sun have released their third album, simply titled Circles Around The Sun, featuring the band’s final recordings with late founding member Neal Casal. This new album marks the band’s third studio release since exploding onto the jam scene with their Interludes For The Dead that were played over the PA during the Grateful Dead‘s 50th-anniversary farewell concerts featuring Phish‘s Trey Anastasio in 2015.
The album features the three previously released singles, “Babyman“, “Money’s No Option“, and “Leaving (Rogue Lemon)“, in addition to four other new songs, “You Gotta Start Somewhere”, “Detroit Dos”, “Landmine Memories”, and “Pete Jive”. The entire album clocks in at just over 44 minutes, relatively short for what fans have come to expect from CATS. Their previous album, the aptly-titled Let It Wander, did precisely that as the band explored sonic textures and soundscapes with chilled-out, ambient jams. Before that, on the aforementioned Interludes, the band simply had fun with reimagining iconic Grateful Dead songs and putting them together in ways we’ve never seen that also seem familiar. On Circles Around The Sun, however, the band appears to have decidedly moved toward a slightly more focused approach to the songwriting process.
In a statement posted to the band’s website, CATS confirmed that the new album “marks a stylistic shift from their previous LPs.”
It’s an evolution that sees the band embracing a sleeker, shinier, even DANCIER version of themselves – a cosmic disco of the body and the soul, still anchored in the groove, but ascending to the stars. The thing is, their sound isn’t the only thing that’s evolved. Since their last LP, Circles has undergone a transformation internally. It’s a tale of life, death and rebirth, of love and loss, of shedded skin and new beginnings. But let’s start with the new album, shall we?
Recorded by legendary engineer Jim Scott (Wilco, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) at his studio in Valencia, CA, this new collection began with…a drum machine. The Sequential Circuits Drumtraks™ from 1983, to be specific. The Circles band members—guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams), bassist Dan Horne (Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson), keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Black Crowes) and drummer Mark Levy—were searching for a sound, something more upbeat than previous releases. Cue the Drumtraks™. “The built-in beats on it are actually pretty janky,” says Horne. “But we knew we wanted to make more of a dancey, groove-driven album that would translate live, to give our shows a more high-energy feel.” Drawing inspiration from P-Funk, Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters, and Beastie Boys’ slinky instrumentals, the band used the Drumtraks™ driving rhythms as the foundation for each song.
Listen to the new, self-titled album from Circles Around The Sun now.
Circles Around The Sun – Circles Around The Sun
When Casal tragically took his own life on August 26th, 2019, he left behind a note to his bandmates that stated his wishes for the band to complete and release the album as well as continue on without him. Since then, the band has played with well-known guitarists including Eric Krasno and Scott Metzger. For a full list of upcoming concert dates, head to the band’s website.