Expanding on the boundaries of what an indie-folk band can be, Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards add a lightness and pop sensibility on their upcoming album, BITTER BETTER.
Premiering a video for their song “Typhoon,” which was filmed during album sessions in Cortese adopted home of Ghent, Belgium. Recorded before the pandemic, the song’s themes of “resilience and relief and release” feel especially prescient, writes Strings Magazine. Look for a cover feature on Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards in the July/August issue of Strings Magazine.
BITTER BETTER will be released on July 17 on Compass Records, with the band joining The Mountain Goats for fall US dates. A stunning lesson in all the ways string instruments can be played – bowed, plucked, percussively – combined with lush vocal harmonies, BITTER BETTER showcases Cortese and multi-instrumentalist producer Sam Kassirer (Lula Wiles, Lake Street Dive) striving to capture the most adventurous approach to each moment. The result is an album that incorporates dance-worthy foundational grooves, synth, and loops to push the boundaries of the genre.
“Everything is so heavy in the world right now,” Cortese says, who’s been living in Belgium the past two years. “When someone comes to our show, listens to this album, or hears one of the songs, I want it to feel like relief and release.”
When it came time to record, the band and Kassirer joined forces with percussionist and engineer D. James Goodwin; together they completely dismantled the idea of how a string band “should” sound.
“There was a lot to feel hopeless about, big political changes and taking to the streets to protest. Friends had been marching weekly since January 20th and I could see our energy and optimism waning. I wanted to remind us to take care of ourselves and reconnect with hope and joy as the longer days returned.”
While the album’s 11 tracks provide relief and release, they also encourage self-examination and personal discovery—the work that is necessary to sustain the energy needed to keep striving, to connect, and to continue to make our complicated world a better place. With BITTER BETTER, Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards throw out the rule book, creating a beautifully vivid, musically unexpected canvas from their refreshingly unconventional perspective.