Home Is Where - the whaler

Wax Bodega
Home Is Where is releasing their highly anticipated new album the whaler via Wax Bodega. Produced by Jack Shirley (Joyce Manor, Deafheaven) at Atomic Garden in Oakland, CA, the whaler is the Palm Coast, FL-band’s most ambitious work to date, and arrived to critical acclaim from Pitchfork (The 46 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2023), Stereogum (Album of the Week), Alternative Press, Consequence, Paste, and more. Album singles (“yes! yes! a thousand times yes!” and “floral organs”) earned additional support from Brooklyn Vegan, Guitar World.com, UPROXX, Guitar World, Exclaim!, and others. The band of Brandon MacDonald (vocals, multi-instrumentalist), Tilley Komorny (guitar, vocals), Connor O’Brien (bass), and Josiah Gardella (drums) will embark on a 2023 U.S. tour early next month, including shows at Brooklyn’s Elsewhere Zone One on July 7th and LA’s Knitting Factory NoHo on September 15th.

Across 10 interconnected but self-contained songs, Home Is Where’s sophomore album captures the desensitization and disorientation of tragedy becoming mundane. the whaler marks an unmistakable new chapter for MacDonald’s songwriting, subverting the expectations left by her band’s critically acclaimed 2021 debut LP I Became Birds for something equally resonant, but darker and more expansive. While the whaler paints a bleak picture of a world in an endless state of collapse–of ruined utopias and desperate people faking normalcy–there’s a humanity-affirming undercurrent throughout that screams to break free. 

The album’s centerpiece, “everyday feels like 9/11,” serves not only as the emotional nucleus of the whaler, but also as its setting: 9/11/2001. “I still feel like we’re living in the fallout of that day,” she says. “It’s a significant symbol for the collapse of everything. It was really successful in destroying America as an idea. Before, you could argue that there was an American Dream. But now, look at what that utopia has become.” The song’s subdued sister, “9/12,” is a reminder of the bleak reality that on that date, “everyone went back to work.” As a lyricist, MacDonald wrote linearly, and filled in any narrative gaps with every revision as she sequenced the album. “With Birds being so personal and inward, for this one, I wanted it to be less about me and more about how a person navigates this postmodern, late capitalist hell world that we’ve built around us,” she says. 

Though the whaler is an album where things fall apart, time folds in on itself, and whales offer themselves up to the harpoons, it doesn’t end on an overly bleak moment. The harmonica-laden closer “floral organs” finds a glimmer of hope and a smile even as the buzzards come. “There are still a lot of very tender and sweet moments here despite everything. I didn’t want to have just a bunch of finger-pointing songs, where it’s just, ‘Isn’t everything so fucked up? Oh my God: this sucks!’” says MacDonald. “That gets under my skin after a while no matter how good it is.” The track comes to a close with a tape loop that rewinds back to the opening moments of the record, evoking a sense of the apocalypse happening over and over again, but it’s just another day if you let it be. Home Is Where have accomplished a timeless album that’s both lucid and human: a testament to centering yourself and those around you when meaning is lost, and the world burns. 

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Explicit Tracks
#1, 7, 9