Golden Drag (Shehzaad from Greys) releasing ‘Pink Sky’ (stream it)
Shehzaad Jiwani, frontman of Toronto punk band Greys, is now taking the time to release a solo album under the name Golden Drag. The album’s called Pink Sky, it comes out this Friday (8/10) via Buzz Records (pre-order), and we’re now premiering a stream of the entire LP ahead of its release. On Greys’ two 2016 albums, Shehzaad showed off an actual, melodic singing voice that he hadn’t previously revealed on Greys’ shoutier early records, and it turns out he’s got a real knack for it (he sounds a bit like Nathan from Wavves). For Golden Drag, he’s taken a similar approach vocally, and instrumentally he takes his sound into all kinds of directions that he hasn’t done in Greys. The album has jangly acoustic guitars, shoegazy electric guitars, buzzy synths, hazy atmospheres, and more, and he does find a little time to throw in his usual driving punk too. It’s a very cool experimental pop record, and it’s nothing you could have predicted from listening to the early Greys releases.
The album was recorded with Josh Korody (Weaves, Dilly Dally, Fucked Up), and it features members of Mannequin Pussy, Twist, PONY, Vallens, Glocca Morra, and Beliefs, as well as Great Lake Swimmers/Chad VanGaalen collaborator Julie Fader. Here’s what Shehzaad tells us about it:
Pink Sky came together in a ramshackle way. I had written these tunes while messing around at home with a bunch of synths, samplers and drum machines that I didn’t know the first thing about, then went into the studio with Josh Korody with the intention of pushing the tunes further outside the usual sonic palette of guitar-based indie rock. I wanted to take the early Eno approach by deconstructing these short, simple ‘pop’ songs and incorporating warmer, more colourful textures that you wouldn’t normally hear on a rock record. It resulted in this strange hybrid of ambient synths and chopped up breakbeats augmenting the live instruments that my friend Neil compared to the Velvet Underground being produced by RZA, which is a comparison I will gladly take.
Lyrically, I tried to be a lot more abstract than I normally am with Greys, resulting in songs that are a lot less topical than they are situational. A lot of it has to do with reflecting on routines you find yourself stuck in as you stare down your thirties, being repulsed by the habits you develop over the course of your young adulthood while still finding comfort in them, and ultimately confronting them. What are your options when you are a broke millennial who is trying to pay rent in a city that is increasingly hostile towards your demographic and its lifestyle? Listen to the record, it’ll answer all these questions and more.
Stream the whole album here: