with Special Guests NIIIS
About this Event
“A big part of the project and why I did it,” says Sloppy Jane’s Haley Dahl of her SaddestFactory debutMadison, “Was because it felt similarto being a little kid and buying an outfit thatwas too big that I'd have to grow into. I really valued from the start that making Madison gaveme someone I had to become.” The record, which Dahl first conceived of back in late 2017, is agrand gesture, a statement about big love, and about growing into yourself in the process.I met Dahl, who is now based in Los Angeles, for the first time in 2019 while working on a profileof her forVogueMagazine. We went to a Ukranian diner,Odessa, which is in the East Village.She ordered oatmeal and I ordered a plate of fried pierogies. As we ate, Dahl shared that shewas planning on going to West Virginia to record an album in the cave. The cave, she told me,came to her in the midst of a heartbreak so intense it completely gut renovated her life and herart. It took a year and a half to look for the right cave. Dahl and her co-producers, Al Nardo,MikaLungulov-Klotz (visuals), and Jack Wetmore, wenton multiple trips across the country.They lived in a freezing van, and would spend their days learning the ins and outs of playingand recording in them. They ended up in West Virginia, at a place called Lost World Caverns.Dahl and her 21 bandmates recorded all of Madison there from 3pm to 8:30 am each day overthe course of two weeks (they also made four music videos on location during this time).Toaccess the space, they’d enter through the back of a gift shop, down a long tunnel where they’dwalk down 200 feet of stairs to reach the entrance. Dahl and her bandmates did this steep walkwith a piano. The ceiling of Lost World Caverns is massively high and is a perfect dome. Theinside was also 98 percent humidity, leading to both stellar sound and also problems with tuningand gear. Engineer Ryan Howe sat in his parents Subaru above the cave with his mixing boardand computer, and threaded cables down 90 feet through a hole in the ground to the ceiling ofthe cave. It’s the first time someone has ever recorded an entire album in a cave, and theresults are pretty sonically stunning. That alone is a marvelous thing.Madisonis an astounding,glorious record of melodrama of the highest order.It’s been a long time in the making for Dahl, who has been performing as Sloppy Jane since shewas a teenager. In those days, Sloppy Jane was a three-piece punk band. Its earliest memberswere Phoebe Bridgers on bass, Sarah Cath on guitar, and Imogen Teasley-Vlautin on drums.Now the band has over a dozen members, and has transformed into a chamber pop project.Dahl also learned so much as a musician: onMadison,she learned how to write for chamberinstruments and taught herself the piano. The record is difficult to categorize. It’s David Bowiebut also when the song “Crying,” by Roy Orbison plays at the end of Harmony Korine’sGummo.It’s My Chemical Romance meetsSgt. Pepper.CourtneyLove and Queen. The record is ahuge, flowery, velvety thing full of toy horses and stalagmites. It follows one major throughline: agrand gesture so large that it moves the whole Earth.Madisonis a record with an audience for one. Eachsong is an attempt at a perfect goodbye tosomeone. It is also a record that examines fantasy relationships. “It’s like when you havesomething that lives mostly in your head: you can’t break up with someone that you don’t evenspeak to who you don’t have a relationship with. It’s this world that starts to live and fester inyour head,” says Dahl of the record’s conceptual underpinnings. The last line on the huge ballad
“Party Anthem,” is “It never happened/It never ends.” On “Lullaby Formica,” and “Jesus andYour Living Room floor,” horses evoke both childhood and also the early stages of love. “TheConstable,” is the record’s biggest, and also longest song. There are horns, layers of vocalharmonies, and percussion that grows larger and more cavernous with the cave as a backdrop.At the end, there’s snippets of people counting down to the new year, a sound that Dahl got byhaving people repeat phrase particles over and over as they slowly walked out of the cave.That’s one of the most lovely things aboutMadison:the cave is an instrument. It is completelyand totally integral to the record’s architecture.The cave represents the concept of forever for Dahl. She tells me that caves take millions ofyears to grow, and they grow in total darkness. She shares that stalactites and stalagmites format a rate of 120 years per cubic centimeter; if you touch them with your hands they stop growingcompletely. Love, in Dahl eyes, is similar. Immortal but not invincible. It is something that younurture, something that grows slow. The atmosphere onMadisonis that of slowness andstillness. It paints love as a complicated and fraught IV drip.Madisonis a record about doingthings the hard way. It doesn’t put a bow on anything. It doesn’t take the easy way out. It’ssomething Dahl had to grow into, to become.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Hi-Dive, 7 South Broadway, Denver, United States