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Standout Track: “Threat Assessment,” the new single by D.C. duo Hand Grenade Job, is an exercise in voice and minimalism. The hauntingly gorgeous track features nothing but Erin McCarley and Beck Levy’s breathless chanting harmonies and the occasional sparse striking of a xylophone. It’s eerie and melodic, and sounds like something suited for the soundtrack to The Witch.
Musical Motivation: With the repetition of the line “I’m the walking exigent / Circumstance you created,” the song is inspired by the manifesto written by Christopher Dorner, a former LAPD officer, who went on a shooting spree against cops after he was allegedly fired for reporting excessive force. “We originally wrote it in February 2013,” Levy says. “I’m struck by how quickly he was forgotten.” The song, she adds, “incorporates some of the more lucid, cogent lines in Christopher Dorner’s manifesto.”
Cabin in the Woods: “Threat Assessment” was recorded in a cabin in Western Maryland this January, in between two blizzards. The song, along with a startling, minimalist cover of Hatebreed’s “Driven By Suffering” and more tracks for an upcoming album, were recorded in the cabin’s largest room, which they transformed into a makeshift studio. “The beauty and stillness of the cabin absolutely contributed to our process and the sound,” McCarley says. “’Threat Assessment’ was recorded live in one take with Beck and I standing next to each other singing into the same microphone, with a view of the woods. Much of the reverb on these primarily vocal tracks is naturally occurring in the room.”