Rodeola ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸
Bloomington, Indiana's Kate Long is the lush and lo-fi Rodeola. Since 2006, Long has quietly released her ambient-leaning folk-rock with a minimalist focus on mood over structure. Built around her halcyon, indelible voice, her new album Arlene examines the transient meaning and often uncomfortable complexity of relationships.
Perpetual Doom proudly presents the latest album from Rodeola: Arlene, now available on cassette for the first time. Led by Bloomington-based songwriter Kate Long, Rodeola makes understated folk-rock in hazy bar light. Following their first full-length record, Night for Days (2017), Arlene develops the band’s quiet confidence into a swirling lo-fi dreamscape of cogent observations, bitter moments, and pointed details.
Taking its title from the middle name Long’s mother abandoned on her wedding day, Arlene embraces the bittersweet tension of an identity crisis. The album’s sound swings from ramped-up country-rock to barebones piano ballads, and the emotional extremes are just as stark. The opener “Game of Numbers” nearly dissolves Long’s voice in amniotic pedal-steel, while Pitchfork celebrated lead single “Teenage Situation” as “a dizzying and lo-fi depiction of complex, unruly emotion that leaves you feeling it all.” Aided by a revolving collection of friends, including Joan Shelley, Nathan Salsburg, and Joe and Matthew O’Connell, Long wraps these songs in a cohesive texture, layering a variety of ear-catching instruments and tones over her guitar.
Arlene revels in shifting perspectives, hidden selves, and the pull of the unexpected. Long likes to joke that these songs all started as jokes. Her feverish lines often match the reckless abandon of pop music and then double down. “Favorite Flavor” opens with a showstopping plea: “There’s a moon in the sky and I’d stab my eyes out / If it meant you’d be mine half of the time.” But as she explains, this is all part of the act. “It’s vulnerable to admit that lyrics like this might mirror my experience,” she says. “Because falling in love is humiliating, heartbreak is humiliating.” Yet just as the song’s measured cadence breaks into a swirl of horns and guitar, experience yields more than bitterness. Long leaves with a final reflection: “This love has many faces, I don’t claim to know them all / I hide things then I lose them, then I find them 10 years on.”
That discovery continues through the lived-in corners illuminated on tracks like “Antarctica” and “Three Things,” which grapple with life’s various aftermaths. But with all the contradictory perspectives uncovered on Arlene, perhaps the most vital is captured on “Ghost: “If I’m dying,” Long sings, “then why is it so funny.”
Release Date: Out now on all digital streaming services
Cassette on February 3, 2023.
Purchase from Official Store or Bandcamp (Coming Soon)