d-n music

False Beats and True Hearts

Damon & Naomi celebrated their 25th year as performers together with the release of False Beats and True Hearts, their first album of new songs in four years. Following the darkly introspective Within These Walls, there was a lot of looking back: the reissue of their debut as a duo (More Sad Hits), a compilation of mid-career highlights (The Sub Pop Years), and a DVD of live performances and tour diaries (1001 Nights), not to mention the re-release of the entire Galaxie 500 catalogue. Perhaps it's no surprise then that the first sound on False Beats and True Hearts is a searing backwards guitar solo, courtesy Michio Kurihara. That intro kicks off what might seem at first listen a more straightforward indie-rock album for Damon & Naomi - although attention to the lyrics will make clear it's the same moody duo.

Damon Krukowski - Acoustic guitar, drums, vocals
Naomi Yang - Bass, piano, keyboards, vocals
Michio Kurihara - Electric guitar
Bhob Rainey - Soprano sax, additional keyboards on tracks 4 and 8
Greg Kelley - Trumpet
Masaki Batoh - Additional acoustic guitar on tracks 5 and 7

Produced by Damon & Naomi
Horn arrangements by Bhob Rainey
Engineered and mixed by Damon Krukowski at Kali Studios, 2010–2011
Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music
Design by Naomi Yang
Cover photograph: Le Champ de lavande by

Praise for False Beats & True Hearts:

"They have been peddling diaphanous acid folk-pop for two decades now, bowing their heads patiently as it billows in and out of fashion, and their ninth album is among their best. The quicksilver guitar of Michio Kurihara, from the Japanese psychedelic collective Ghost, drips magic dust over lightly jazzy drums, arrestingly inexact harmonies and cautious, languid melodies that uncoil like cats in the sun." -- Stewart Lee, The Sunday Times (London)

"Unlike most every other artist out there, these guys actually keep getting better, and some twenty years into their post-Galaxie 500 career, they have made what might be their most enjoyable album. It's looser than their recent stuff, with a trippy, hazy beauty, searing guitar leads, aching melodies, and a lot more; if this was an obscure private press LP from some lost hippie collective, it would be reissued to thunderous praise. It IS self-released, and I think they might be hippies... let yourself love this record!" -- Other Music

"The jewel-like songs and the group's rigorously controlled brilliance - wedding acid-folk's hazy glow to chamber-pop's lush detail - can be hypnotic. With Michio Kurihara's guitar lines twisting around becalmed vocals like vines, the duo builds miniature gardens of sound - deceptively serene settings for songs about deception, memory, the knowledge that 'the dawn won't come till the night settles down.' That fragile perspective has proven remarkably resilient over 25 years." -- Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

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