Partisan Records

Cigarettes After Sex

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Bio

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Cigarettes After Sex frontman Greg Gonzalez had a clear vision for his band’s debut album, a gorgeously cinematic work released via Partisan Records on June 9, 2017. After the phenomenal online break-out success of 'Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby’ and the subsequent re-discovery of an earlier Cigarettes EP (‘I.’) from 2012, the Brooklyn transplant (originally from El Paso) wanted to project his worldview on to a bigger screen, a broader canvas. As Greg explains, “This is like the novel or feature-length version of Cigarettes. I wanted it to feel like a complete work, where some of the imagery repeats – like it’s all in the same world. It’s very much a fulfillment of the feelings in the short works.”

That sense of fulfillment is richly felt on Cigarettes After Sex, which unspools like the most achingly romantic of movies: immersive, cohesive and transporting. Swooning in the spirit of influences such as Mazzy Star and Red House Painters, its sumptuous songs of love elevate Cigarettes to the ranks of those acts who create worlds of their own, exciting the most devoted kind of following – for Gonzalez, The Smiths were a reference point.

Right from the off, Gonzalez’s ability to set a scene and sustain a mood reels you in deeply. On album opener ‘K.,’ a tale of blossoming love etched in tiny details luxuriates over chiming guitars; on the hymn to romantic compulsion of ‘Each Time You Fall in Love,’ the suspended animation of Angelo Badalamenti’s heart-stopping Twin Peaks music is echoed. ‘Sunsetz’ and the gently lilting ‘Sweet,’ meanwhile, showcase Gonzalez’s ability to weave impressionistic snapshots of romance into melodies that haunt like memories of past loves, all coalescing around his melting vocals.

Elsewhere, Gonzalez mounts movies in miniature with the photographic references of ‘Flash’ and Fitzcarraldo echoes of ‘Opera House,’ a song so lovingly languid it could, conceivably, soundtrack a man hauling ships over mountains for love. And, just as every good film-maker knows the need for a killer finale, so Gonzalez closes the album with the retro-romantic swing and teasingly filthy put-downs (the “sucking cock” lyric isn’t as barbed as it seems, just friendly joshing) of ‘Young & Dumb,’ which brings the album to a close with good, timeless advice: “Drive your car to the beach with the song on repeat…”

If the result is the spirit of pop-noir romanticism distilled, it’s also grand pay-off for Gonzalez’s band’s slow-burn gestation. Although Cigarettes seemed to spark into life over one breakthrough weekend in 2015, Gonzalez ignited the project in 2008. Early iterations nodded to 1980s-vintage New Order, Erasure and Madonna, before Gonzalez harkened back to darker influences such as Joy Division for a band makeover. A commitment to confessional, sexualized lyrics stuck early; Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel No 2’ numbered among Greg’s reference points. Meanwhile, an amorphous band line-up began to solidify as keyboardist Phillip Tubbs became more of a permanent member.

For some of the band’s early years, Gonzalez studied music at the University of Texas, El Paso. He dropped out but his time there was not wasted. Attracted by the “echo-y” sonic potential of a university stairway, he recorded an EP there which, he says, “ended up being something special.” Indeed, Cigarettes’ 2012 EP was so special Gonzalez struggled to follow it. When his patient perfectionism bore fruit with ‘Affection,’ the online response took his breath away, he recalls. “There was this big flood of support over, like, a weekend… It was fairly emotional for me, because I’d been waiting for that since I started writing music.”

Post-university, Gonzalez had moved to Brooklyn, where he bided his time working as a musician and managing a cinema, the Beekman Theatre on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. If his memories of holding private screenings with friends there sound romantic, so do his favorite films. The “strange mystery” and “hazy” romance of Antonioni’s L’Avventura was one influence; so was the “autumnal beauty” of Kieslowski’s The Double Life of Veronique.

To mirror their woozy romanticism in music, Gonzalez rejected conventional studio routes for his band, which numbers Randy Miller on bass, Jacob Tomsky on drums and Tubbs on keyboards. Taking influence from The Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session (recorded in a church, single microphone), Cigarettes recorded most of the album in three days at the Sweatshop rehearsal space, Bushwick. The exception is ‘Each Time You Fall in Love,’ which was recorded in the Beekman’s stairway after hours, the ghosts of screen lovers channeled in every warm note. Like the best movie, Cigarettes After Sex holds you in a hell of a spell.

Albums

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Videos

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Tour

20 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Armando Music Hall

Bogota, Colombia

21 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Armando Music Hall

Bogota, Colombia

22 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Barranco CCB

Lima, Peru

23 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Cúpula Multiespacio

Santiago, Chile

25 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Cine Joia

Sao Paulo, Brazil

27 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ La Trastienda

Montevideo, Uruguay

28 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Teatro Vorterix

Buenos Aires, Argentina

30 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Teatro Capitol

Quito, Ecuador

31 Aug 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Teatro Capitol

Quito, Ecuador

26 Sep 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Commodore Ballroom

Vancouver, Canada

27 Sep 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Neptune

Seattle, United States

29 Sep 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Crystal Ballroom

Portland, United States

01 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Fox Theater

Oakland, United States

03 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ The Wiltern

Los Angeles, United States

04 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Yost Theater

Santa Ana, United States

05 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ The Observatory North Park

San Diego, United States

07 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ The Van Buren

Phoenix, United States

08 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Sunshine Theater

Albuquerque, United States

10 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Ogden Theatre

Denver, United States

11 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ The Truman

Kansas City, United States

12 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Slowdown

Omaha, United States

13 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ First Avenue

Minneapolis, United States

15 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ The Sylvee

Madison, United States

16 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Thalia Hall

Chicago, United States

18 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Madison Theater

Covington, United States

19 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ The Vogue

Indianapolis, United States

21 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Danforth Music Hall

Toronto, Canada

23 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Webster Hall

New York, United States

24 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Brooklyn Steel

Brooklyn, United States

25 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ 9:30 Club

Washington, United States

26 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Union Transfer

Philadelphia, United States

27 Oct 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ House of Blues

Boston, United States

02 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Paradiso

Amsterdam, Netherlands

03 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Paradiso

Amsterdam, Netherlands

07 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Cirque Royal

Brussels, Belgium

08 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Olympia

Paris, France

09 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Primavera 20th Anniversary Weekender

Benidorm, Spain

11 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Sala Apolo

Barcelona, Spain

12 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Sala Apolo

Barcelona, Spain

14 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Alcatraz

Milan, Italy

16 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Plaza

Zurich, Switzerland

17 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Plaza

Zurich, Switzerland

18 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Arena

Vienna, Austria

19 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Arena

Vienna, Austria

20 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Roxy

Prague, Czech Republic

22 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Den Grå Hal

Copenhagen, Denmark

23 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Tempodrome

Berlin-altglienicke, Germany

25 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Palladium

Cologne, Germany

27 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Albert Hall

Manchester, United Kingdom

28 Nov 2019

Cigarettes After Sex @ Shepherds Bush Empire

London, United Kingdom

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