Over four records since 2009, Ava Luna have positioned themselves as a multi-faceted, art-first collaborative group, their music picking apart different aesthetics and voices and creative impulses. One way of pulling apart all of those layers and more intimately seeing what makes Ava Luna sound like Ava Luna is by checking out the solo work of each member. For example, on her own, Becca Kauffman works on Master Cactus cassette zine, which draws on her interests in performance art and comedy, while Felicia Douglass is a painter and makes poppy R&B recordings.
Drummer Julian Fader has also just released a new solo record under the name Um Are, the name pulled from the album’s first track, “Um Are You Going To Finish That?” It’s a deconstructed, loud-quiet kind of rock song, with self-harmonizing shoegaze vocals that sound as disoriented as disaffected: “It’s like your parents just dropped you off / and you don’t even have a phone / call home … we’re taking it all in stride.” The record has been in the works since 2010, recorded at the Trinity Korean Methodist Church in Gravesend, Brooklyn; Holy Mountain; Gravesend Recordings at Silent Barn (which Fader runs with Ava Luna’s Carlos Hernandez); his old apartment in Clinton Hill; and a closet at Tarbox Road Studios. Fader plays all of the instruments and sings. It’s streaming below and is very much worth a listen; that’s the album artwork above, by Marie Demple.