Dehd announce ‘Flower of Devotion’ remix LP + North American tour

Dehd press photo
Photo Credit: Alexa Viscius

Last summer, Chicago-based band Dehd released ‘Flower of Devotion’ via Fire Talk. Now, they have announced ‘Flower of Devotion Remixed,’ out September 17th, and a North American tour. The remix album sees Dehd surrounded by a myriad of close collaborators (Lala Lala, Protomartyr, Freak Heat Waves, and more). It points a spotlight on the Chicago music scene the band still calls home, staying true to the trio’s earnest melodies while creating a blend of experimentation in mutated indie pop that feels like a personal mixtape for the friends that know them best. The first single, Flying – Physical Medium Remix, was completed before the remix record was even conceived. “I’d like to give Physical Medium a special shout out for planting the seed and really opening my eyes and ears to the world of remixing,” says Jason Balla. “Their passion for it has been infectious.” 

“What I love about dance music is that it exists to put my body into motion,” Balla continues. “It can do so many things that a normal song can’t because of its humble mission: keep the asses shaking. Dance music is just plain fun. In this spirit, we invited 14 friends to chop up Flower of Devotion and put it back together as they saw fit. No rules, no guidelines. The songs went all over the place and it was really amazing to hear songs I knew so well become something new altogether. Hearing one of our voices or a guitar line in a new context really showed me how much room as a band we have to explore. It’s already impacted how we approach writing at practice, figuring out the basics and then asking ‘now what?’”

Listen to Flying – Physical Medium Remix via YouTube below.

This fall, Dehd will tour across North America, including a hometown appearance at Pitchfork Music Festival with an adjacent aftershow. Following that, they’ll support Julien Baker on tour. Tickets are on sale now. 

Dehd Tour Dates

Fri. Sept. 10 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival

Sat. Sept. 11 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle

Sat. Sept. 18 – St. Augustine, FL @ Sing Out Loud Festival

Fri. Oct.1 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club #

Sun. Oct. 3 – Detroit, MI @ El Club #

Mon. Oct. 4 – Toronto, ON @ The Baby G #

Wed. Oct. 6 – Montreal, QC @ L’esco #

Thu. Oct. 7 – Brooklyn, NY @ Market Hotel #

Fri. Oct. 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s #

Sat. Oct. 9 – Peekskill, NY @ First River Festival

Wed. Oct. 27 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre *

Thu. Oct. 28 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater *

Fri. Oct. 29 – Houston, TX @ The Heights Theater *

Sat. Oct. 30 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger *

Mon. Nov. 1 – Phoenix, AX @ The Van Buren *

Tue. Nov. 2 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park *

Wed. Nov. 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon

Thu. Nov. 4 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern Theatre *

Sat. Nov. 6 – Oakland, LA @ Fox Theater *

Mon. Nov. 8 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater * – SOLD OUT

Tue. Nov. 9 – Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theatre *

Wed. Nov. 10 – Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre *

Fri. Nov. 12 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex *

Sat. Nov. 13 – Englewood, CO @ The Gothic Theatre *

Mon. Nov. 15 – Lawrence, KS @ The Granada *

Tue. Nov. 16 – St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall *

#= w/ Bnny
*= supporting Julien Baker

“I want nothing more than to be a loner,” Emily Kempf sings early in ‘Flower of Devotion,’ the sophomore album by Chicago trio Dehd. It’s a startling admission coming from a songwriter who, just a year ago on Dehd’s critically acclaimed Water, wrote eloquently about the joys and pains — more than anything, the necessity — of love, compassion, and companionship. But then, “admission” isn’t really the right word here, given the stridency of Kempf’s tone.

Loner is a declaration. Not only for Kempf, who, when she wasn’t on the road with Dehd, spent much of the last year or so “totally alone, out of the game, just focused on myself,” as she puts it. It’s also a showcase for guitarist Jason Balla and drummer Eric McGrady, for the way the three of them play together, and for the seemingly impossible strides Dehd has made as a group in the short time since Water’s release. “We wanted to take a step up,” Kempf says. “We wanted to level up enough to where we feel powerful, but still in the same ballpark.”

Level up they did. In seemingly every way imaginable, ‘Flower of Devotion’ is a major step forward — and a major statement, period — for Dehd. The songs show off a deeper range, from Loner’s synth-powered heartland rock to the empowered strut of opener Desire to the from-the-gutters howl of closer Flying. The performances are sharper, shot through with emotional clarity. The production, courtesy of Balla, shades everything in rich sunset tones. Flower of Devotion seems drawn from a well of confidence much deeper than the one they’d tapped on Water.

That’s not a coincidence. The trio went into the album’s writing and recording with clear minds, ready to take what they’d learned the last time around and refine it further. “We’re learning by the process of doing and doing and doing,” says Balla. “The last record, the vibe was ‘How minimal can it be? What’s the minimum that a song requires to succeed?’ This one was like, ‘How can we make this thing that’s really powerful?’”We didn’t become more perfectionist,” Kempf clarifies. “We’ve always been really scrappy, but we decided to polish our scrappiness just a little bit.” 

That polish brings out the shining and melancholy undertones in Balla and Kempf’s songwriting, even as it captures them at their most strident. His guitar lines at times flirt with ticklish cosmic country, while at others they reflect the dark marble sounds of Broadcast. Kempf, meanwhile, establishes herself as a singer of incredible expressive range, pinching into a high lonesome wail, letting loose a chirping “ooh!,” pushing her voice below its breaking point and letting  it swing down there. When she and Balla bounce descending counter-melodies off one another over McGrady’s one-two thumps, or skitter off over a programmed drum pad, they sound like The B-52s shaking off heartache.

While they were writing the album, Kempf says, “we both went through hell, literally, and the world seems to be going through hell, too.” Balla experienced profound loss and all that comes with it: For him, the album is about “all the fixes you try to put on your problems,” he says, “struggling with bad impulses.” Kempf, for her part, cultivated the sense of self-sufficiency she craved, which forced her to confront her own need for attachment. “I’m obsessed with being with people, or I’ll have my identity attached to a partnership, whether it’s romantic or in the band,” she says. “How can I be utterly alone and chill?” 

But what makes ‘Flower of Devotion’ so impressive is how its creation seems to have strengthened its creators, both as individuals and as unit, even as they’ve stared down their own limitations. It’s also striking just how much fun they seem to be having in the process. “It’s okay to be lighthearted in the face of despair,” Kempf says. It’s a theme that runs through the album, from the opening back-and-forth build of Desire to the click-clacking chorus of Haha, which finds them deflating their own history. At every turn of ‘Flower of Devotion,’ sadness is countered by joy, joy is tempered by sadness. “Being alone and grieving is very isolating,” Kempf says, “but then you come out of your little cave of grief, and your friends and family and partner are all there to pat you on the back and hold you until you have to go back into the cave of grief alone.” “It’s never ending, new summer feeling,” Balla sings on Month. Fittingly, it’s a song that sounds exactly like the end of summer.  

Dehd Flower of Devotion Remixes cover artwork
‘Flower of Devotion Remixed’ track listing

01. Flying – Physical Medium Remix
02. Disappear – 03sem Remix 
03. Loner – Protomartyr Remix 
04. Apart- Accessory Remix
05. Drip Drop – Freak Heat Waves Remix 
06. Flood – 100% Cement Remix
07. Haha – Rxm Reality Remix
08. Letter – Sunglow Remix 
09. Desire – Lala Lala Remix
10. Month – In The New Age: Scott Monroe Remix
11. No Time – Dom Rabalais Remix
12. Moonlight – Lionlimb Remix
13. Nobody – Miranda Winters Remix

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