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Premiere: July Talk's 'When You Stop' captures everything about the band that we love

Almost a decade ago, World Cafe went to Toronto for our Sense of Place series in search of new music discoveries. We found one in the indie rock band July Talk. At the time, the band had just released its self-titled debut album. We became instantly enamored of the band's music. With co-lead vocalists Leah Fay Goldstein and Peter Dreimanis, the energy has always brought about an equal balance of beguiling tension. The twin guitar playing of guitarists Ian Docherty and Josh Warburton, and double drummers Danny Miles and Dani Nash, round out the band, who release their new album, Remember Never Before, tomorrow.

Today, World Cafe is premiering, "When You Stop." From the band's new album, it captures everything about this band that we love: the decadelong relationship between Goldstein and Derimanis that has brought about both light and darkness in the way their vocals work together, the co-mingling and interlacing of the guitar playing, and the understated yet powerful push and pull of the rhythms.

It's been three years since their last album, Pray For It, and we asked them how the pandemic affected the making of this record. In an email, Goldstein said: " In a lot of ways we feel we already released our pandemic album in July of 2020. Pray For It was written between 2017 and 2019 and was our way of processing the reality of a very uncertain new world. One that saw what felt like a global shift toward darkness, baseless hatred, intolerance, bigotry, fear-mongering, climate doom, etc."

She continues: "We were on the road a lot and witnessing these trends everywhere we went around the world. No one could've predicted the events of the past few years, but maybe on a karmic level, we felt we had it coming as human beings. It's kind of like there's a fork in the road when the path of darkness you've been traveling down feels endless. Eventually it's like 'Okay, do you want to give up or keep going?' Is life worth living? Do you believe in people enough to see how it all turns out? Choose your player: hope or despair. And we unabashedly chose life and love and energy and giving less f***s about what people think and that was liberating for us. That's the energy we tried to capture on Remember Never Before. It's not ignoring anything we're currently dealing with. On the contrary, it's set in the middle of it all. We hope it inspires baseless love in its many forms: pleasure, resistance, learning, joy, community and communication, taking responsibility, finding beauty in everything: an antidote to rolling over and dying."

About the song "When You Stop," which was produced by Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, Dreimanis says: "It seemed to materialize out of thin air... It was our first time collaborating with our friend Kevin. His process is different from what we were used to, focusing on creating in the moment without allowing any preconceived ideas to seep in. Thinking with our bodies and letting our brains take the backseat for a day. I remember the chords feeling dark but hopeful. Danny and Dani (the drummers) were doing this sort of snare drum downbeat thing together, and gradually it felt like we all locked into the same step, calm and reassuring but also persistent and inescapable. I started to pace around the room."

"Before long," Dreimanis continues, "I found myself repeating the same lyric over and over again in my head: 'When you stop you find out what you're running from.' After a period of heavy reflection over the past couple of years, questioning the value of the hustle and whether the motive matched the means, the lyric felt correct. We did what we could to finish the song in an honest way from there, but we were always chasing that initial feeling."

Watch the stop-motion black-and-white video for "When You Stop," which was produced, drawn, directed and created by Danuta (Goldstein and Dreimanis) with additional special FX by Shy Kids, in the video player above.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.