premiere: Grouper welcomes the Winter Solstice with beautiful new Paradise Valley 7″
The winter solstice is an astronomical event marking the shortest day and longest night of the year, a day on which the sun stands still, officially ushering in winter. It's a cold, dark time, and it feels that way this year more so than ever. But it also signals a new beginning: after today, the nights get shorter and the days longer, the solstice representing both a metaphorical and literal rebirth of the sun. Grouper's Liz Harris chose this day to self-release her poignant new Paradise Valley 7", and I can't imagine a more healing and hopeful soundtrack for leaving this unrelentingly bleak year behind and starting over. A-side "Headache" is a thing of exquisite, otherworldly beauty, its hazy glow emanating a staggering sadness and radiating an enveloping warmth and comfort. It's a bit unique for a Grouper song in its relatively traditional pop song structure, and it's not the first time Harris has referenced the mystical tow of the false horizon to devastating effect. It's also one of the most overwhelmingly gorgeous songs you'll ever hear. Listen to "Headache" below, accompanied by a dreamlike short film shot in 16mm by Harris' regular collaborator Paul Clipson. Grouper's Paradise Valley 7" is limited to 1000 copies, out today.