The Royal Arctic Institute - Sodium Light [EP]
“On a very short list of rock albums released in 2021 so far, this is one of the best..” – New York Music Daily
“The Royal Arctic Institute joins the honored tradition of instrumental bands that know no genre — think Tortoise, Solar Motel Band — with a punk bent. Dreamy, fierce and only jammy when the jam calls for it.” – Lars Gotrich / NPR Music
NYC instrumentalists The Royal Arctic Institute (mems. Das Damen, Two Dollar Guitar, Roky Erickson, Love) set to release new EP, Sodium Light, Friday April 2 via Rhyme & Reason Records
The band describes Sodium Light as the culmination of their process of hunkering down in their Hoboken rehearsal space over the course of the pandemic, woodshedding as a therapeutic means of reckoning with a world turned upside down.
Some of the tunes have been in hibernation for a few years and some were written on the spot. But all of them were born out of an attempt to make sense of life during an unprecedented pandemic.
Of the process, the band says: “Making this record in the pandemic world was a real lifeline for all players involved. We hunkered down in our social distance-sized warehouse space in Hoboken and channeled all of our frustration and anger and sadness about the state of things into the tunes. On a practical level, we engaged in obsessive hand washing and a revolving array of face masks. But the spirit of the frustration, anger, and heartbreak of the pandemic is all in there. We used the process as a life raft for our own sanity in the midst of something more surreal than any of us could have ever imagined.
Since its inception, The Royal Arctic Institute has been a revolving group of musicians, creating a singular brand of warm and searching instrumental music that at once hearkens as much to Slint as it does to Dick Dale.
John Leon (guitar) worked as a session musician and producer for many years in Austin, Texas where he backed numerous artists like Roky Erickson, Abra Moore, and Trish Murphy.
Lyle Hysen (drums) and David Motamed (bass) have played together since they were fifteen-years-old, starting out in high-school punk cover bands, before going on to form the Misguided, and Das Damen, and, eventually, backing Arthur Lee of Love.
Motamed has also played with Two Dollar Guitar, Cell, and Townes Van Zandt.
Carl Baggaley (keys) has been a professional gigging and recording artist in New York for decades. He is an integral part of the supergroup Gramercy Arms.
Lynn Wright (lead guitar) has a long history as an accomplished session musician and bandleader. He has worked with artists such as Bee And Flower, Shilpa Ray, James Hall, and his own project And The Wiremen.