Juanita Stein has unveiled the video for ‘L.O.T.F’, the latest single from her upcoming third album, Snapshot, which is set for release on 23rd October in all formats.
Of the third in a series of self-made lockdown videos, Juanita says: “A few of us headed out to a deserted stretch of road nearby. The headlights of the truck, the misty night air, the insects flying in and out of frame, projected the right energy for the track. L.O.T.F is me reflecting on a sun kissed childhood growing up in Australia. The endless starry skies, vast coastline, the distance between us and the rest of the world. All of this is tinged with a deep melancholy as I recall these years in my rearview mirror”.
The new song taps into the theme that runs throughout the album, which was recorded following the sudden loss of Stein’s father in 2019. As Juanita explains, it is “an ode to growing up in Australia, tinged with a sad bitterness.” It is a devilish intersection of a song, with introspective lyrics swimming through snarling guitars.
“It feels fundamental to understanding the devastation and eerie silence thrust upon us after his sudden death,” begins the Brighton-based, Australian songwriter Juanita Stein, discussing the moment of great sadness that inspired her new record. “It was a daunting task to sum up the life of one man such as my father. He was endlessly inspiring, charming, deeply talented and passionately spiritual. He admirably, and at times frustratingly, carried the torch for his own musical career until the very end.”
It’s within this processing of a life well-lived and attempting to wrestle with the tides of her own grief, that what would become the album began to ebb and flow out of Stein, who first became known for her work as singer and guitarist in Howling Bells.
“After I felt I had enough songs,” Juanita explains, “I was moved to reach out to producer Ben Hillier, who I’d been a fan of since hearing records he made with Clinic, Elbow ad Doves to see if he might be interested in making this album with me.”
Unlike her first two solo albums, America (2017) and Until The Lights Fade (2018), which were made in just a few weeks and both at studios in the US, Snapshot was recorded over the course of eight months at Agricultural Audio, not far from Juanita’s home.
As she says, “This allowed me the time and distance I so craved. Ben was deeply concerned with allowing the songs to breathe and to take the right shape. We laid down all the defining guitar parts and vocals which were then beds for the band to come in and lay their parts on.”
As the record began to take shape, Juanita “called on my brother, Joel Stein, (guitarist in Howling Bells) to play lead guitar, I knew only he could harness the exact frenzied energy needed for the songs. Both he and I were both going through something pretty momentous and I wanted to shift that energy into the music. Evan Jenkins on drums alternated between freeform and thunderous on some tracks, light and barely-there on others. Jimi Wheelwright on bass held it all together beautifully.”
The result is a record that feels crafted from a life lived as much as it was clearly excavated from loss. It’s a record that strives to capture more than a passing moment and succeeds in laying its hands on something bigger than most of us will ever fully understand.