!!! will release a new album, Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, through Warp Records on August 23.

It feels like a lifetime since !!! signed to Warp Records and introduced themselves to a global audience with ‘Me And Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard (A True Story)’, one of the all-time great singles. It was actually 2003, a good seven years after the band actually formed. Since then they’ve established themselves as one of the most raucously enjoyable live acts around the world, released a patchy but era-defining debut album (2004’s Louden Up Now!), won over Pitchfork types with their cover of Magnetic Fields’ ‘Take Ecstasy With Me’, and released a punchy, accomplished but ultimately satisfying sophomore LP in Myth Takes (2007).

Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, !!!’s third album for Warp, was recorded in Berlin, New York and Sacramento. Though apparently only 20% of it was locked down in the German capital, the band’s frontman Nic Offer sardonically describes it as their “Berlin album”, influenced by their time spent there soaking up the city’s history and culture, not least its vibrant nightlife.

“There’s always the romance of a Berlin record, but on top of that there’s something happening there that isn’t happening in New York and is totally exciting,” Offer says. “It wasn’t like the whole band was going out to clubs all the time, but there was a core group of us and we would hit it. And it was incredible. We were trying to soak that up. It’s still something that I hope could happen over here [in the United States]. In some ways I guess it never will. But if we could just even begin to try to catch up to what’s going on there over here it would be a musical revolution… So this was our stab at starting the musical revolution.”

It’s also arguably the darkest record !!! have made to date, no doubt partly due to the tragic death of drummer Jerry Fuchs, who fell down an elevator shaft in November 2009. “I don’t mind talking about it with anyone,” Offer says. “But I don’t want to talk about it in interviews because so much of what you say just turns into this mechanical thing that you spit out, and I don’t want my memories of him to turn into a soundbite that I can’t feel anymore.”

There have been a number of personnel changes, and the reduced membership of the band now numbers Offer, guitarist Mario Andreoni, saxophonist/percussionist Dan Gorman, drummer Paul Petrone and vocalist Shannon Funchess.

Strange Weather, Isn’t It? was co-produced by the band with Eric ‘Babytalk’ Broucek, former in-house engineer for DFA. “Making a record is always a fight with us,” says Offer, “but on this record disagreeing with the producer kind of united us, so we fought less against each other and fought against him…We had this war with Eric: he only likes old synths, and half the band, well actually everybody except me, agrees with him. I like new synths because those old synths were used on New Order records, these new synths no one has used except for someone like Tiesto, but if you don’t use it like Tiesto…But Eric is handy on the old modular synths, so the band pushed that a bit. We used everything we could – MacGyvered it together with a popsicle stick and a rubber band to make it work – and Eric was definitely instrumental in making that happen.”

“We’ve learned how to make records better,” Offer concludes. “In the early days we’d put something deep in the mix, so that kids on acid could hear it the 20th time they listened to it. Everyone wants Eno to produce their record, but he only has time for Coldplay and Paul Simon, so you have to use his adages as your thing. His one big thing is that every idea obscures another. So there was more focus on what was working. It’s fun for us to make something lush.”

1. AM / FM
2. The Most Certain Sure
3. Wannagain Wannagain
4. Jamie, My Intentions are Bass
5. Stead As The SideWalk Cracks
6. Hollow
7 Jumpback
8. Even Judas Gave Jesus a Kiss
9. The Hammer



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