14 November, 2023Print
Nation of Language's Strange Disciple Named #1 Album of The Year By Rough Trade
Today, Nation of Language are proud to be named Rough Trade's #1 Album of The Year, marking the latest achievement in an array of accolades for the Brooklyn trio's superlative new LP, Strange Disciple. Since its release this fall, Nation of Language have further reaffirmed themselves as "the best synth-pop band in the world" (Paste), from selling out nearly every one of their US, EU and UK tour dates, to dominating the radio waves at KCRW, KEXP, SiriusXMU and dozens of college stations across the country, debuting on their first-ever Billboard charts, and earning praise from Pitchfork, Vice, LA Times and many others listed below. Topping Rough Trade's Top 100 Albums of 2023 caps another breakthrough year for Nation of Language, who also headlined both Brooklyn Steel and the iconic Rockefeller Plaza, delivered standout sets at New York Fashion Week, Outside Lands and Pitchfork Festival, and drew the weekend's biggest crowd to their stage at Primavera. The crowning milestone serves as a celebration of the group's wider impact and burgeoning fandom within the Rough Trade community, previewing much more to come from three of NYC's most ascendant, independent artists in recent memory.
"When we first heard we might be in the running for Album of the Year our initial reaction was visceral fear of sitting in the #1 spot, afraid that it would mean, in mathematical terms, that it must all be downhill from here. But if there was any list we feel comfortable and excited to be number one on it's Rough Trade's. It's a place we can go and hang out, a place we've seen memorable shows, a place we happily walked copies of our first record to in the early days so that someone like us might see it stocked there and take a chance on it. We know our audience is also very aligned with the ethos of Rough Trade. So we'll enjoy this moment and choose not to crumble under the pressure and tweets saying 'who the hell is Nathan Language and why isn't *my* favorite band in the top spot!?'"
-Nation of Language's Ian Devaney, Aidan Noell & Alex MacKay
Strange Disciple explores themes of hopeless devotion, toxic infatuation, outrage-baiting news cycles, the battle of agony vs. ecstasy and more across highlights like "Sole Obsession," "Weak In Your Light," "Sightseer" and "Too Much, Enough," which arrived with a music video starring Westworld's Jimmi Simpson, Reggie Watts, Kevin Morby, Tomberlin, Adam Green and more. "Nation of Language have never released a bad song," says AV Club. "And with this record, that streak remains blessedly unbroken." Read more about the making of the album, produced by Nick Millhiser (Holy Ghost!, LCD Soundsystem), in Paste's recent Cover Story, featuring an in-depth interview from bandmates and spouses Ian Devaney and Aidan Noell.
This weekend, Nation of Language head to Mexico City for a performance at Corona Capital, before headlining a sold-out show at Boston's Sinclair later this month, and ending their 2023 tour in Montreal and Toronto. To learn why they "might just be the best live band you've yet to see" (Alternative Press), check out their newest session for KEXP, and find tickets to upcoming shows at nationoflanguage.com/events.
Praise For Strange Disciple
"NoL have never released a bad song, and with this record, that streak remains blessedly unbroken"
"As timeless as they are revolutionary...Strange Disciple is, in no minced words, their greatest document yet. The result is an immensity that comes alive more and more with every passing chapter, a living room and nightclub album drunk on technicolor, dancing and candy-coated longing"
"Best Songs of 2023 So Far"
LA Times, on "Weak In Your Light"
"We should all be obsessed with Nation of Language…the trio have honed a sound that is both nostalgic and timeless"
"It is the band coming into their own, the arrangements growing more complex and layered...the most cohesive and concise set of songs NOL have put together thus far"
"Nation of Language might just be the best live band you've yet to see"
"Their best album yet...In a music culture fueled by nostalgia-hits, sample cycling, and interpolation, Strange Disciple is revivalism done honestly and done right"
Under The Radar, 8/10
"Cult heroes continue their hot streak...an album that perfectly conveys the inner chaos of infatuation, not just lyrically but with every note the trio plays"
"The Brooklyn synth-pop trio expands its signature sound…another achievement in economy, a project that looks to the sound of new wave as a springboard, not a textbook, and lets small touches shine"
"Devaney nimbly builds nostalgic hooks and loops from such synth-pop and post-punk masters as Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Human League, Flock of Seagulls and Talking Heads - into brand new songs that are as irresistible as their predecessors"
"It's very easy to get Nation of Language's new-wave gems stuck in your head, and their latest offering, Strange Disciple, features these catchy and idiosyncratic melodies in droves"
"Part of the band's appeal is their ability to conjure up a feeling or moment in time...a modern sensibility and rule-breaking approach that imbues their sound with the ineffable, contagious quality of live performance"
"The synthesizer arpeggiations, rolling basslines and use of rock instrumentation are still there, but it's all spread out, giving extra room for Nation of Language's strongest asset, Devaney's soaring melodies and voice"
"Thrilling soundscapes that build on their potent evolution...in Strange Disciple they have produced an album exploring the challenges of the human condition"
"A sparkling reminder of the group's ability to take the atheistic pleasures of the past and mix them with incredible songwriting, musicianship and forward thinking that leaves the majority of their contemporaries lurking in heavily trodden graveyards...their polished and precise brand of contemporary new wave is some of the best out there"
Northern Transmissions, 8/10
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