The New York indie-rockers the Virgins are set to release Strike Gently, the follow-up to their 2008 self-titled debut, on March 12th. It's the first record to be released on Julian Casablancas' label, Cult Records, and now you can take a listen to its new single, "Flashbacks, Memories and Dreams," an edgy dance-punk number with a supple funk bass groove, street-noir vibe and skittish guitar licks.
"We all went in not knowing what to expect, but it was important for me to make the record I wanted to make, something more personally meaningful," singer-songwriter Donald Cumming tells Rolling Stone. "I would write the songs and bring them in and we would all start playing on them. We'd start on a song and it would just be chords and lyrics and it would fill out very intuitively."
Strike Gently is decidedly less dance-pop and disco than its predecessor, and "Flashbacks, Memories and Dreams" was one of the last tracks recorded for it. "The single on the record is pretty much straight performance. There's so much crazy shit happening and it's got so much nuance, you can never play it the same way twice. Every time we play it, it's kind of fun and we wonder if we'll get through it," says Cumming. The single is also a bit more upbeat than the rest of the album, which balances smooth, Dire Straits-style romantic guitar rhythms and lower-register vocals with choppy, lo-fi elements.
As Cumming notes of the band's path, "The first record was pretty conceptual; we were trying to make a pop record. But I've grown a little and wanted to narrow in on what I cared the most about. It was important for these songs to reflect what I'm interested in now."
The Virgins will kick-off a monthlong tour on March 13th.
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- Julian Casablancas