We're thrilled to be working with Mansions again, this time on the release of their new album, Tuff Luff. This is the sixth Mansions full-length and first of all-new music since 2020's Big Bad.
It's due out October 6, 2023, everywhere you stream music and also at your doorstep if you buy a record from this here webstore. The Tuff Luff LPs are limited to 500 units for their first pressing -- see full info below. We expect orders to ship the week of October 2nd for arrival right around the release date!
Additionally on this page, you can check out some merch for the new release -- including a T-shirt (Comfort Colors heavyweight tee), hoodie (Independent brand heavyweight pullover hoodie) and hat. Previews of all the items are available in the photos on this page. Lastly, there's a new pressing of Dig Up The Dead on Red & White Marble 12" that you can add to your order if you'd like, and everything will ship together.
Anything you purchase from this page will come with a digital download of Tuff Luff, set to deliver on the release date to your electronic inbox.
200 - Baby Pink
300 - Clear w/ Green Splatter
1. Sorry Sorry
2. Crystal Lake
3. Something Sweet
5. Into My Body
7. 2 B w/ People
9. It's a Joke
10. Last Dance
11. Ice Age
Mansions' new bio for Tuff Luff, written by our old pal Evan Lucy:
There's a moment on "Underrated," the angular, fuzzed-out cleanup hitter on MANSIONS' sixth full-length, TUFF LUFF (Bad Timing Records), where singer/guitarist Chris Browder declares, "Let's be underrated / So what if no one loves or hates it? / You thought it up and made it."
A refrain like this is equal parts victory lap for the band -- they of cult status in the indie-rock underground over the last 15 years thanks to heralded albums like Dig Up The Dead (2011) and Doom Loop (2013) -- as much as it is an existential rumination on what it means to be creative, to sink so much of yourself into your art on the chance it could connect with audiences somewhere out there.
On Tuff Luff, the Seattle trio (Browder, bassist/vocalist Robin Dove and drummer Christopher Thomas) explore life's twists and turns through big questions like these, though they're infinitely less concerned with the answers than they might have been in the past. Rather, it's the act of even asking them that represents real progress.
"These songs are personal in a different sort of way than before," Browder explains. "I had just started therapy, and it was helping me see things in a much clearer way. In the past if I was having an issue, it usually manifested lyrically as a conflict with someone else but missed the core anxiety or fear I actually had. These songs -- in a way that almost embarrasses me -- are straight to the point in terms of what the real thing is."
In contrast to its predecessor, the more brooding and restrained Big Bad (2020), Tuff Luff is brash and boisterous, channeling the crunching energy of Doom Loop and 2007's New Best Friends with power-pop charisma and indie-rock angst. In many ways, it's the great exhale to Big Bad's more meditative moments and the sound of Browder tapping back into his youth, eschewing inhibition and second-guessing for the purest impulse.
"As you get older, there's always a desire to get back to what made you fall in love with music in the first place," he explains. "I did a cover of an Angel Olsen song in a garage-rock style that was fun and stupid but had a cool contrast between the music and the lyrics. Doing that opened up the record for me: the instinct of turning on distortion pedals and almost doing it like I would have in high school. There's a purity there instead of trying to be too clever."
Like the self-actualization that arose from therapy, that sense of purity manifests itself in the type of questions Browder asks throughout the album's 11 songs: Whether he's asking them of himself ("Is everybody hanging out without me all my life?" from the self-effacing "2 B w/ People") or others ("Are we close or just adjacent?" on the social anxiety-inspired "Something Sweet"). He admits they're topics he might not have been confident enough to broach in the past, now recognizing the power of turning perceived weaknesses into strengths, steeling yourself for the future by weaponizing your raw emotions.
"The introspection and tough love of taking the time to deal with your own stuff is hard," he says, referencing the album's title. "It's so much easier to just ignore it."
But it's clear from the last decade and a half that people do love the art Browder, Dove and Thomas make, connecting to it on an intimately personal level. Look no further than the 11-year celebration of Dig Up The Dead, which Mansions commemorated with a one-time event in Brooklyn that Browder described as "uniquely special and validating" -- and a night that actually influenced what Tuff Luff would become.
"I had to relearn Dig Up The Dead songs in a way that let me feel like an outside listener," he says. "It had been so long since I played them that I started to realize there are certain guitar tunings or things that my hands do that feel natural to me, but wouldn't be obvious to other songwriters. In the past I had fought those tendencies, but I learned it's just my particular style and started seeing that as a positive. On this album I leaned into that to make something that sounds like me, instead of overthinking it and trying to be somebody else."
So while Mansions aren't afraid to look back every now and then, the Tuff Luff era ultimately sees them entering a bold, new future as a band – importantly, fully on their own terms, rising to meet life's ebbs and flows in a way that's authentically them.
"We're probably never going to be a full-time touring band again," Browder admits. "While we were transitioning to that, COVID happened -- in a way, the world changed to meet what we wanted to do anyways. We're now in this phase where we're putting out records and playing a show or two a year that feel like special events. It feels meaningful and cool, and wildly sustainable."