Advance Base Releases 'Christmas In Nightmare City'

Advance Base Releases 'Christmas In Nightmare City'

Advance Base has shared a video for "Christmas In Nightmare City," the latest from his upcoming album, Animal Companionship. Talkhouse premiered the video today along with an essay penned by Owen Ashworth about song and video's conception. Animal Companionship is available for pre-order now and due out 9/21 via Run For Cover and Ashworth's own Orindal Records.

Additionally, Advance Base has also announced a massive fall tour in support of Animal Companionship that kicks off this month. All dates below.


9/23 Lakewood, OH @ Mahall's Locker Room *

9/24 Toronto, ON @ The Baby G*

9/25 Rochester, NY @ Small World Books *

9/26 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby's All Right *+

9/27 Cambridge, MA @ Atwood's Tavern *

9/28 Portland, ME @ Apohadion Theater *

9/29 Burlington, VT @ Light Club Lamp Shop *

9/30 Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB *

10/01 Greenfield, MA @ Root Cellar Bar *

10/02 Kingston, NY @ BSP *

10/03 Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA *%

10/04 Washington, DC @ Studio Ga Ga *

10/05 Charlottesville, VA @ Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar *

10/06 Athens, OH @ The New Happiness *

10/07 Columbus, OH @ Cafe Bourbon Street *

10/08 South Bend, IN @ Hoover House *

10/17 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout ~%

10/18 Iowa City, IA @ PS1 %

10/19 Omaha, NE @ O'Leavers %

10/20 Sioux Falls, SD @ Total Drag %

10/21 Fargo, N*E*R*D @ Aquarium %

10/22 Winnipeg, MB @ The Handsome Daughter %

10/23 Grand Forks, N*E*R*D @ Ojata Records %

10/24 Duluth, MN @ Red Herring %

10/25 Minneapolis, MN @ The Warming House %

10/26 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club %

11/07 Indianapolis, IN @ Square Cat Vinyl

11/08 Louisville, KY @ Surface Noise Records

11/09 Chattanooga, TN @ JJ's Bohemia Û

11/10 Knoxville, TN @ The Pilot Light

11/11 Durham, NC @ The Pinhook =<

11/12 Greenville, SC @ Cabin Floor Records =

11/13 Athens, GA @ The World Famous =

11/14 Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry's

11/15 Lafayette, LA @ Artmosphere

11/16 Galveston, TX @ Galveston Artist Residency <

11/17 Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas <

11/18 Denton, TX @ Dan's Silverleaf <

11/20 Vancouver, BC @ Wise Lounge >&

11/21 St Louis, MO @ Foam

12/06 Vancouver, BC @ Wise Lounge >&

12/07 Seattle, WA @ Barboza >

12/08 Anacortes, WA @ Kennelly Keys >

12/09 Portland, OR @ Turn Turn Turn >

12/11 San Francisco, CA @ Hotel Utah >$

12/12 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater >£

12/14 Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole >?

12/15 Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space &?

12/17 Denver, CO @ Hi Dive >?

12/18 Boulder, CO @ Cherryvale Studio

* w/ Gia Margaret

+ w/ Lina Tullgren

% w/ Friendship

~ w/ Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else

Û w/ Sinai Vessel

= w/ Greg Jamie

< w/ Moon Racer

> w/ Lisa/Liza

& w/ To Bad Catholics

$ w/ Stephen Steinbrink

£ w/ Little Wings

? w/ Karima Walker


Owen Ashworth's albums have always been about the human condition, and his latest is no exception. That may sound strange, given that it's called Animal Companionship, but it's as human as anything he's done before.

After hearing problems forced the end of his electronic pop project Casiotone for the Painfully Alone in 2010, Ashworth started making quieter music as Advance Base, releasing A Shut-In's Prayer in 2012, Nephew In The Wild in 2015 and a slew of tapes and 7" EPs in between. After releasing a 2016 live album, In Bloomington, the prodigious songwriter shifted his focus to his label, Orindal Records, and put his efforts into helping other artists release their music.

This break from songwriting gave him time to explore not just how he makes music, but why he's driven to do so. "I spent a lot of time thinking about why I write songs and what I get out of writing songs," he said. "It took a while to get back to writing for myself, unselfconsciously.

"The reason I've always made music is because it's therapeutic for me," he said. "It's a way of processing my feelings and understanding my subconscious. I love the ritual of writing a song and performing it over and over again until its meaning reveals itself. It's the closest I get to meditation."

The meditative nature of Ashworth's new songwriting process can be heard in Animal Companionship's spacious arrangements. Blissful drones and lush synthesizer textures envelop soft electric piano arpeggiations and spare drum programming, creating an almost hypnotic backdrop for Ashworth's lyrical narratives. And the lyrics themselves have found a new focus: dogs.

"There was a while last year when a bunch of different friends of mine were having problems with their dogs," said Ashworth, "and even though I don't have a dog, suddenly I was giving all of this dog advice. I was just thinking and worrying about these friends and their dogs all of the time, and dogs just started showing up in my songs.

"When you explain the relationship you have with a pet, it can sound crazy. We all tend to anthropomorphize the animals we love, talking about them as if they're children, siblings, even spouses," said Ashworth. "I wrote these songs to help myself understand what pets mean to their owners, how those animal relationships affect our human relationships, and vice versa."

Unlike the previous Advance Base albums, which were made at home on Ashworth's trusty 4-track tape machine, Animal Companionship was mostly recorded at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles with Ashworth's old friend and former Casiotone for the Painfully Alone collaborator Jason Quever. Animal Companionship still sounds like Ashworth, but Quever's production adds more depth and clarity than you've ever heard from an Advance Base or Casiotone album. The album opener, "True Love Death Dream," is full of warm synthesizer textures and lush drum machine tones, the kind that sink deep into your soul and take root there. It shows how much time and consideration Ashworth put into Animal Companionship, and how Quever knew exactly how to capture it. From the pedal steel atmospherics of "Dolores & Kimberly" to the densely layered oscillations of "Rabbits," every movement beautifully frames each song's narrative. Animal Companionship's production is expansive but always deliberate, allowing Ashworth to speak volumes through subtle, emotional gestures.

Taken as a whole, Animal Companionship is not just a step forward for Advance Base-it's the culmination of everything Ashworth has been building for the past two decades. It's a record that's gentle in approach and endearing in practice, the kind of thing that only Ashworth could create.

Photo Credit: Jeff Marini

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