New band of the day – No 1,109: Peaking Lights

Wisconsin duo Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis will lull you under with a beguiling blend of krautrock and dub

Hometown: Wisconsin.

The lineup: Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis.

The background: In last week's NME a reviewer of the new Kasabian album reported that band songwriter and inadvertent comedian Serge Pizzorno had chosen the title, Velociraptor!, because "velociraptors used to hunt in fours – they were the rock'n'roll band of the dinosaurs". The statement wasn't just ludicrous, it was also quite poignant, given the rapid rate of extinction of the traditional four-piece rock band. These days, solo artists win all the prizes, sell the most records, and even triumph when it comes to good old-fashioned bad-boy behaviour. And a lot of the most interesting music in pop right now is being made either by individuals or double acts. And of the latter, there is currently a sub-sect of married or at least romantically linked couples, including Summer Camp, Tennis, New Look and now Peaking Lights (we'd need to check the partnership status of Cults and Sleigh Bells before we add them to the list). And although you could argue that pairs who aren't involved may be able to bring more creative tension to the table – and we're thinking here of the strange alchemy and fierce energy propelling duos from Associates and DAF to Yazoo – there's no denying that this marriage thing is working.

Take 936, the debut album by the Wisconsin twosome of Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis. It's an appealing mess of psychedelia, krautrock, electronica and dub. Not dubstep – dub. Some of the tracks on the album hint at what might have happened had the Grateful Dead jammed with Amon Duul while King Tubby fiddled with the controls. With narcotised female vocals that make Warpaint sound like War. That sentence makes no sense, but then neither does, on paper, a record mixing up krautrock and dub. 936 is being released here in November on Domino offshoot Weird World, months after being available in the US on the excellent Not Not Fun, the label home of Pocahaunted, Ducktails and Maria Minerva. Peaking Lights are already thinking about their second album, due to be self-produced and engineered by Al Carlson (Yeasayer, Oneohtrix Point Never) in NYC under the influence, according to a Coyes blogpost, of "smoother bass lines w/ a heavy dub influence looking outward to private press boogie records, african & latin rhythms and tranced vibrations of the most killer all nite party you've never been to: less cocaine, more weed, a sustained orgasm, maintaining 100% creative control, late hot summer nights, come down chill room and low lit zone, lazer light show, smoke machines, being naked and watching the sun rise".

Ahead of that, there is a free-to-download megamix of some of Peaking Lights' current favourite stuff, including veteran jazzer Lonnie Liston Smith, soul woman Betty Harris, plenty of reggae from the vaults, and – particularly exciting for us, this – long-forgotten early-80s Britfunk duo I-Level, the instrumental dubbed-out B-side of whose 1982 club hit Give Me they employ to trippy effect. And, of course, there is 936 itself. It is, as one of the titles of the album has it, Amazing and Wonderful – a tad decorous in parts, a bit tasteful, but there are repetitive drones here that lull you under and pleasant reminders of the psychedelic properties of dub. Marshmellow Yellow is typical: they lock into a groove and stay there, for over eight minutes, Dunis repeating the word "sweetheart" like the ghost of Sandy Denny intoning mournfully over a combination of Melodica motif, bubbling rhythm and kosmische folk. It might not encourage you to remove your clothes, but it is the perfect soundtrack to Indian summer nights.

The buzz: "Bewitchingly beautiful and hazy concoction of dub, psychedelia, kosmische and disco" – junodownload.com.

The truth: Marriage: it's the new black.

Most likely to: Put the dub into double act.

Least likely to: Do a record with Donovan. On second thoughts …

What to buy: 936 gets a full European release on 21 November.

File next to: Warpaint, King Tubby, Primal Scream, Augustus Pablo.

Links: tumblr.com.

Wednesday's new band: Exitmusic.

Contributor

Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Peaking Lights: Lucifer – review
Husband-and-wife duo Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis mix cosmic psychedelia, art rock, dub and more to ecstatic effect, writes Maddy Costa

Maddy Costa

14, Jun, 2012 @9:00 PM

Peaking Lights: 936 – review

Peaking Lights's debut fuses Alice Coltrane, the Slits, dub and ancient psychedelia, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

20, Nov, 2011 @12:06 AM

Article image
Peaking Lights: analogue beauty in a digital age

Married duo tinker with synths and record straight to tape to bring imperfection and physical manipulation to the fore

Justin Quirk

22, Jun, 2012 @11:04 PM

Peaking Lights’ Everyone And Us, this week’s best new track
‘Everyone And Us proves that even in this season of sickly over-indulgence, less is more’

Sam Richards

12, Dec, 2014 @1:00 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 1,242: Mafia Lights

These Guildford goodfellas make gently atmospheric electro-pop. It's an offer you can easily refuse …

Paul Lester

03, Apr, 2012 @3:18 PM

Article image
New band of the day – No 1,172: Lights

Her bright and breezy music has won Valerie Anne Poxleitner every award under the Sun – but there are darker hints too

Paul Lester

16, Dec, 2011 @6:24 PM

Article image
New band of the week: CaStLeS (No 132) – psychedelic, shimmery guitars
Welsh indie-pop trio channelling psych, baggy, west coast pop and krautrock

Paul Lester

12, Dec, 2016 @8:00 AM

Article image
New band of the day: London Grammar (No 1,497)

The sound of 'the new xx' is overwhelmingly polite …

Paul Lester

22, Apr, 2013 @5:14 PM

Article image
Jagwar Ma (No 1,444)

Sydney duo getting nostalgic for late-80s Madchester. Cue baggy dancing

Paul Lester

01, Feb, 2013 @9:00 AM

Article image
New band of the day - Plantman (No 1,419)

If the Velvet Underground were from the Home Counties and had never heard of heroin, they might sound something like this

Paul Lester

19, Dec, 2012 @5:21 PM