Hear Small Black’s Liberating ‘Free at Dawn,’ an Epic Answer to Chillwave’s Past
From May's haze-free, crud-less 'Limits of Desire' LP
Chillwavers have aged better than most progenitors of hashtaggable micro-genres, and Small Black are no exception. Their 2010 debut Small Chain was a little late to the sun-baked game, but rather than get hung up on that fact, the Brooklyn quartet ran an aggressive campaign of creative reinvention. They sampled Nicki Minaj. They got Das Racist’s Heems to lay down a couple of verses. They made that pretty freaking radical Moon Killer mixtape. And then the dudes hit the studio, and while there, singer Josh Kolenik told SPIN he’s done with “any sort of haze or crud … We’re going to live or die by our vocals and there’s no sweeping it under the rug.”
Enter Limits of Desire, the group’s official sophomore album, due May 14 on Jagjaguwar, and our first real taste of the thing: “Free at Dawn.” Stream the song below to hear an effort that’s both more minimal and more expansive. By scraping away the goop and gunk, Small Black have freed their own epic inclinations and, as painfully obvious as it is to say, created for themselves a brand new dawn.