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Crushed - Extra Life

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Los Angeles duo crushed announce their signing to Ghostly International and the first vinyl pressing of their 2023 debut EP, extra life. A love letter to ‘90s radio, the first collaboration from musicians Bre Morell and Shaun Durkan finds them tuning a shared taste for maximalist dream pop. Open-hearted hooks and melodic riffs move through a haze of breakbeats, spliced sound design, and distortion. Faithful yet fluid in its channeling of golden age alt-rock, Britpop, trip-hop, and electronica, there’s a refreshing freedom to the sound, which quickly resonated with fans and critics upon initial release. Pitchfork called it “effortless, widescreen dream pop that’s serene without being sentimental,” and NPR cited its “deep sense of place and time.” The music also struck Ghostly, and the first measure for crushed and their new label home is to give extra life a wider physical release paired with remix- es from band favorites Real Lies and DJ Python.

The story of crushed is written across midnight transmissions. In the early 2010s, Morell, who fronts the band Temple of Angels (Run For Cover Records), hosted a graveyard shift college radio show and used to play music from Durkan’s former band Weekend (Slumberland Records). In 2020, Durkan, having focused on pro- duction work (Tamaryn, Young Prisms) following Weekend’s run as a formidable shoegaze act, hosted a late-night program on a community radio station in San Francisco. Driving one day, he heard Temple of Angels by chance and was imme- diately drawn to Morell’s voice. He added a song that night to his on-air tracklist. Morell saw it and reached out to thank him and point to that connection made a decade earlier.

The exchange sparked a long-distance project. First, they filled an audible moodboard with ‘90s classics from the likes of Natalie Imbruglia, Sneaker Pimps, and The Sundays. Songs that transported them back to places of comfort and discovery; Morell’s memories of a metallic, lavender boombox that dispatched past sounds from a world beyond her Houston suburbia, and Durkan, in his mom’s car on the way to band practice. These touchpoints provided a palette for crushed to experiment without expectations, purely for the fun of it.

A creative intimacy emerged; stepping outside the reverb walls of her full band, Morell embraced more clarity and a range of emotions in her vocals, while Durkan looked inward as a producer, collaging fragments from their everyday lives: voice memos, piano recordings, even the panting of Morell’s late dog on “milksugar.” The wistful ballad embodies extra life’s feeling as a whole. “I am home again,” sings Morell; her refrain cycles above a drum machine beat as Durkan colors their universe with star-lit strums, synth swells, and the crackle of fireworks in the distance. Elsewhere, the duo’s uptempo mode is equally effective, like the su- per-charged duet “coil” or the propulsive opener “waterlily,” which sets a cinematic tone for the set.

Bold, bright, and replayable, extra life presents crushed as a project of immense promise, two artists unlocking something special within themselves, a space to hold both melancholy and bliss. Durkan adds, “To me, [extra life] is true and pure - in a way I haven’t felt about music in a really really long time.”

01. waterlily
02. coil
03. milksugar
04. bedside
05. respawn
06. lorica

Released 15th March 2024

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Crushed - Extra Life

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