Toronto garage rock trio Tough Age are sharing news of a fourth LP today—Jarrett Samson, Penny Clark, and Jesse Locke will introduce Which Way Am I?, their first record since 2017’s Shame, at the beginning of August. Like most of their crate-digging contemporaries, the new record explores all kinds of new directions, experimenting in different areas of post-punk while implicitly nodding to the pocket-sized punk of Dirtnap Records (and explicitly nodding to Eddy Current Suppression Ring).
The first single the group’s sharing today is called “Repose,” and while it is one of the record’s sleepier cuts, it’s by no means tame. Clark takes on vocals for this song—as she does with many of WWAI?’s tracks—before the five-minute track gives way to a sprawling John Dwyer–like guitar odyssey. “‘Repose’ is me trying to write a song about peaceful things after all of my misery songs on the previous record and 7″,” she shares. “I had mixed success in achieving my goal. I always write the melody first and then I decide what I want the song to be about, and then I write the words (sometimes words slip in during the melody part and then I have to write around them). To me, ‘Repose’ sounded like a calm and solitary night, so everything in that song happens at night.”
“I wrote the music for ‘Repose’ one morning when I should have already left for work,” Samson adds. “It came very quickly (but not quickly enough to avoid being late), but didn’t feel like something I could write a melody for. We practiced the song without Penny singing, so the first time we heard her vocals were live in the studio as she recorded them, and Jesse and I both were stunned. It felt like a real left turn for Penny, and I think shows the depths of talent she sort of just tucks away and dishes out when she feels you’ve earned a piece of it.”