What do you do when you already write some of the most memorable damn alt-pop songs a city has ever heard? Evolve forward, expand the depth of your sound, and never, ever lose sight of hooks that remain catchier than Tuukka Rask’s glovehand. That’s the approach of Air Traffic Controller, the Boston band led by Dave Munro who have been crafting tasty alt-pop for the better part of the decade.
Today, they return with a new album, Black Box, which features 2015 standout jam “The House” and a dozen other fresh jams, including a pleasantly brooding, mystic-pop thumper called “Warrior”, which we are excited to premiere this morning on Vanyaland in advance Air Traffic Controller’s record release party Saturday night at the Sinclair.
“We dug deeper, much deeper, to make this record,” Munro says. “The songwriting, arranging, musicianship, production, engineering… everything down to the artwork was done with so much care and I’m so proud of what we are sharing with our fans and new listeners. Our friends, families, and our loyal fans have stood by us through the process, as we continue pushing beyond our limits and evolving. Once again, we have arrived at an album that doesn’t sound like just one thing, or one voice — hello Casey! — and we hope that’s as exciting for you as it is for us.”
That “Casey” in question is Casey Sullivan, who takes on a larger vocal role with the group on Black Box. And “Warrior”, the first song of Sullivan’s that was recorded for the album, sets a certain tone for the rest of the LP. “It’s definitely a song about loss, but the production has a fierceness to it that almost feels like bravado to me sometimes,” Sullivan says, “because the lyrics come from such a vulnerable place.”
In addition to tomorrow’s release party in Cambridge — which also features the area debut of Johnson & McAuley, a new alt-pop duo who arrived recently with a cover of When In Rome’s “The Promise” — Air Traffic Controller will head to Austin next week for a string of shows at South By Southwest. Check out “Warrior” below, as well as their full run of upcoming live dates.
Upcoming Air Traffic Controller Tour Dates:
March 12 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair (CD release headlining show)
May 21 – New York, NY – The Mercury Lounge (CD release headlining show)
Air Traffic Controller at SXSW:
March 16 – Shiner’s Saloon (Humpday Hootenanny, 5 p.m.)
March 16 – Textile Events Space (McDonalds Music Session, 9 p.m.)
March 17 – Maggie Mae’s (“Music Milestones: 40 Years of The Ramones” presented by the GRAMMY Museum, 10:40 p.m.)
March 18 – Little Woodrow’s (Live Vibe Presents: #PartyInMyPants, 5 p.m.)