LANNDS Los Angeles, CA
“I just want to allow the universe to speak through me right now. What is it that I want to say? How do I truly feel?” These are the questions Rania Woodard found herself asking alongside bandmate Brian Squillace while working on their debut album, Music For The Future (out March 3rd via Run For Cover Records). In the Spring of 2021, Woodard and Squillace decamped to a remote cabin in northern Georgia to work on their new album. Beginning each day with a clear intention to create without expectations, the pair found themselves immediately inspired by their surroundings, and felt a deep connection to the spiritual world around them. “What happens right now is what’s meant to happen,” Woodard says. It is this undercurrent of unyielding trust that runs through Music For The Future.
After finding their own unique sound across 3 EPs, LANNDS has expanded their lush, electro-pop palette into new territory. Music For The Future is a confident, sweeping feat of enlivened production and intimate, emotional storytelling, both gentler and more mature than the band has ever been. Replete with messages of care and reflection, Woodard describes this album as an “open letter” to herself. At the time they began writing, Woodard and Squillace found themselves navigating a wave of personal changes, including the anticipation of their imminent cross-country move from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles. Balanced on this daunting brink of transformation, the songs across Music For The Future are LANNDS’ most courageous yet, and serve as thoughtful reminders to their future selves, and anyone listening, that everything is going to be alright. On album opener “Fortune”, Woodard sings, “I’ll leave the light on for you”, over a bubbling arpeggiated synth, a comforting reassurance that sets the tone for the rest of the album.
In typical LANNDS fashion, Music For The Future was entirely produced, engineered, and mixed by Squillace and Woodard. Some of the vocal takes were taken straight from their writing sessions at the Georgia cabin, while the rest was recorded in Squillace’s apartment. “When we do it ourselves, even if it’s a little more “home done” sounding, it’s just more us,” Squillace says. Years of collaboration have allowed the duo to embrace each other’s creative skills – whether it be Woodard’s blossoming layers of vocal melodies, or Squillace’s soulful piano chords – and shape them into a sound they can truly feel at home in, without the weight of outside influence. On Music For The Future, this level of familiarity has allowed the band to experiment with new ways of writing.
Optimistic song “Wheels In Motion” has the washed out vocals and wavy guitar lines LANNDS has become well known for over the years, but descends into a fuzzy outro with sputtering, distorted vocals, and spiraling synth, like a TV channel tuned to static. “I’m think I’m falling in place / I feel the wheels in motion”, Woodard sings confidently. This kind of surprising shift inside the space of one song comes up repeatedly, as seen on tracks “Overseas/BACK 2 U” and “Forts”. While writing, the duo challenged themselves to resist the constraint of typical song structures, and instead playfully asked, “What’s the coolest thing that could happen right here?”
“Everything, Everything” is a firm anchor in the middle of Music For The Future, with stacked vocals that recall Frank Ocean and James Blake, set against a simple, repetitive piano line that crashes into heavy synth bass and percussion. “This song is just about being at your lowest, but knowing the universe is always going to be right there to cradle you,” Woodard says. “That’s how I felt: damn, she’s holding me right now.” Across Music For The Future, LANNDS isn’t afraid to confront the darker sides of growth and change, and they encapsulate that churning turmoil with glimmering, spacious production. “We were trying to explore sounds that aren’t necessarily recognizable, but are really big and overwhelming in a cinematic way. Like a sound that shakes you. Sounds we felt in our bodies,” says Squillace.
LANNDS is not afraid of the future. On “Wish You Well”, the most uplifting song on the album, Woodard sings, “I’mma wish you well / I wish you the best / I want you to fly” over a sparkling synth line and soft, ringing bells. Even if they’ve been burned, LANNDS knows how to rebuild, and savors the careful work of putting yourself back together, even when it hurts (maybe especially when it hurts). “At the end of the day, our philosophy has always been that it’s more important to capture a feeling than to get something perfect,” Squillace says. And that’s what LANNDS has managed to do so poignantly across Music For The Future: come up close to a feeling. Isn’t it the feeling itself that reminds us we’re alive? Days, weeks, or years from now, when we’re buried again in darkness or in pain, Music For The Future is a warm testament to this survival. You’ll make yourself whole again. You’ll walk once more, chin held high, face turned toward this brilliant, steady sun.