Montreal musician and photographer Tess Roby announces debut album for Italians Do It Better, impressively uses new video for “Catalyst” as a literal catalyst

Montreal musician and photographer Tess Roby announces debut album for Italians Do It Better, impressively uses new video for "Catalyst" as a literal catalyst
Photo: Hugo Bernier

Italians may or may not actually do whatever “it” is better. But, when it comes to cinematic-melancholic-noir-pop-wave (it’s a real genre!) nobody does it better than Italians Do It Better. It makes sense then why the label responsible for all things darkly disco-esque would be putting out Beacon, the debut album from Tess Roby.

A Montreal-based artist and grizzled veteran of the Canadian Children’s Opera Company, Roby wrote Beacon in 2015 following the death of her father. Collaborating with her brother Eliot — and using synthesizers and drum machines from her father’s studio — Roby sought to craft a “spiritual homage,” both to her father, and to the beacon the album takes its title from (a Napoleonic War-era watch tower that still sits atop Ashurst Hill in Dalton, Lancashire.) Fittingly, Roby’s music is awash with ethereal synths, imbued with a sense of longing for a place, moment, or feeling, like its searching for a guiding light in the darkness.

Listen for yourself on “Catalyst,” Tess Roby’s debut single off her debut album Beacon, down below (directed by Roby and Hugo Bernier and shot on Super 8). While you’re down there, make sure to also take a look at the album’s full tracklisting, as well as Roby’s upcoming tour dates — including a stop at this year’s Moog Fest and a small run with Carla Dal Forno. Beacon is out April 20 via Italians Do It Better.

Beacon tracklisting:

01. Given Signs
02. Ballad 5
03. Catalyst
04. Plasticine Hills
05. Beacon
06. Tripling
07. Air Above Mirage
08. Borders

Roby on the road:

04.19.18 – Montreal, QC – Sala Rossa (Album launch show)
04.21.18 – Toronto, ON – 918 Bathurst (Album launch show)
05.18.18 – Durham, NC – Moog Fest
05.19.18 – Durham, NC – Moog Fest
05.21.18 – Washington, DC – Union Stage *
05.24.18 – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst *
05.25.18 – San Diego, CA – Whistle Shop *
05.26.18 – Los Angeles, CA – Resident *
05.27.18 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel *
05.28.18 – Arcata, CA – The Minplex *
05.29.18 – Portland, OR – Holocene *
05.30.18 – Seattle, WA – Timbre Room *

* Carla Dal Forno

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