While his full-time group Now, Now is as time-filling as ever – including a six-week fall tour with Kevin Devine and a highly enviable gig opening for “Adventures in Babysitting” at the Lake Harriet Bandshell on Friday – Twin Citiesnative Bradley Hale is making it clear that his solo electro-pop act/alias Sombear is more than just a one-off side project.
Hale used the Sombear moniker for a new solo album of ambient synth-pop and spacy R&B, “Love You in the Dark,” which was issued two weeks ago via Trans Records, the label run by Death Cab for Cutie guitarist/producer Chris Walla. Trans also released Now, Now’s well-received album “Threads” last year.
Not only is Walla the label boss in this case, but he also came to town last week to play guitar with Hale in a taping of 89.3 the Current’s “Local Show” (they also talked Walla into doing an installment of “Theft of the Dial”). Hale will take Sombear out on the road for two weeks in September opening for none other than Dessa (alas, with no local date, and probably not with Walla in tow).
Hale’s talents with synths, loops and drum machines have shined through here and there in Now, Now, and he has used his Sombear moniker on the side prior to this, including his remix of Tegan & Sara's "Closer." On “Love You in the Dark,” he steps out as a more-than-capable, willowy voiced singer and charmingly introverted, semi-narcissistic and occasionally lustful lyricist (the title track especially sounds heated, even reminiscent of Frank Ocean).
The whole album is streaming at the Consequence of Sound blog. New today, Impose magazine premiered this video for “Incredibly Still,” which Hale himself also directed. A man of many talents, it seems.