Dear Nora has announced their first album on over a decade - and you can hear first single "Sunset On Humanity" now.
Skulls Example follows up 2004's Mountain Rock LP, and sees Katy Davidson "reflect[ing] on wilderness and humanity themes during turbulent political times."
The California-based artist resurrected retired moniker Dear Nora (although they've worked as Lloyd & Michael and Key Losers too) following the runaway success of Mountain Rock's vinyl reissue last year - a reissue which spawned tours of both US coasts. Davidson was then galvanised to start working on Skulls Example.
Davidson has also shared a statement about the release:
"I wrote the songs on Skulls Example between 2009 and 2017, and recorded most of them during the latter half of 2017. 'Skulls Example' is a name I once chose for myself during a party by closing my eyes and picking two words at random from a book of magic.
"It has been a decade since I have released new material under the name Dear Nora. The last time I released an album of new material was in 2011 - that was called California Lite and it was under the band name Key Losers. Thematically, California Lite makes sense as an early warm-up to Skulls Example. It's about freeways, the internet, human connections (and broken connections), and wilderness.
"Skulls Example is about how our weird, techno-futuristic present (VR, self-driving cars, drones, Tinder dates, reality TV show government, Starbucks ubiquity, iPhone as extension of human body, Blade Runner-esque income inequality, cryptocurrency 'utopias', etc.) juxtaposes so absurdly against the never-ending backdrop of inexorable, ancient elements (fire, ice, wind, storms, mountains, rocks, human instinct, etc.). It's like we live in multiple realities at once: Now Reality layered upon Ancient Reality, Virtual Reality layered upon Now Reality. The palimpsest creates the illusion of collapsed time.
"The album is specifically about humanity. Our capacities and feats are so incredible - we're godlike - and yet we're scrounging for happiness and basic survival, we're heavily addicted, we just want love, we want family. We're simultaneously so brilliant and so basic. To me, this feels like the worst and best time to be alive. I experience some level of horror and bliss on a daily basis.
"One of the reasons I 'retired' Dear Nora 10 years ago was because I couldn't figure out how to navigate financial stability as a full-time songwriter and touring musician. And for the last three years, I've worked as a commercial music producer. I enjoy my work, but I constantly think about how I'm contributing to the Massive Capitalistic Garbage Dump of Life. When Trump got elected, I knew it was time to make a new album.
"I derived a ton of lyrical inspiration from several recent visits to Oaxaca and Mexico City. I'm fairly obsessed with Mexico's culture, music, and attitude towards death. I also derived inspiration from the Mojave Desert and Oregon's High Desert, places where there are creosote or juniper trees, and fields of ancient lava rock. To me there's nothing like letting go of my thoughts and being in the dusty, sensual wilderness. Living on Earth feels like pure magic to me and I tried to bring that feeling to this album."
Dear Nora's new album was recorded with Zach Burba (bass/synth), Greg Campanile (drums), and Jessica Jones (guitar) in Portland, Oregon. Tim Shrout is on mixing duties (although Davidson "micromanaged").