Haley Dahl – who records as Sloppy Jane – has released her groundbreaking album Madison today (via Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records). Dahl created the chamber-pop record inside the Lost World Caverns in West Virginia, bringing in 21 bandmates from all around the country to make an impressive and ambitious orchestral album recorded deep inside the caves. After spending three years exploring caves across the USA that could capture her vision for the album – and obsessing over the different acoustics of each option – Dahl, accompanied by co-producers Al Nardo, Mika Lungulov-Klotz (visuals), and Jack Wetmore, selected the hauntingly exquisite caverns in West Virginia. Madison is a beautiful, personal labor of love; a sweeping grand gesture, a powerful statement about obsessive love, and about growing into yourself in the aftermath of a life-changing relationship.
A pioneer in the industry, Dahl’s inception of the album is the first of its kind and the results are sonically stunning; Madison is an astounding, glorious record of highest order melodrama. Along with the album, Dahl has released a cinematic and imaginative music video for “Wilt” today.
Click HERE to listen to Madison
Click HERE to watch the video for “Wilt”
Dahl shares, “My favorite thing about Madison is that it’s not a collection of songs, but something that happened. Both in an immediate sense, in that it was recorded over two weeks with 21 musicians in a cave, but also in a larger sense, in that it feels less like an idea I had, and more like an idea that happened to me. This work irreversibly changed my life, who I am, and the way I approach music. Making this album from start to finish- writing songs, learning to notate, searching for caves, and figuring out how to properly capture and perform in them- took years of hard work, patience, and collaboration.”
Madison is a record with an audience for one. Each song is an attempt at a perfect goodbye to someone. It is also a record that examines fantasy relationships. “It’s like when you have something that lives mostly in your head: you can’t break up with someone that you don’t even speak to who you don’t have a relationship with. It’s this world that starts to live and fester in your head,” says Dahl of the record’s conceptual underpinnings.
Dahl and her 21 bandmates recorded all of Madison from inside the caves from 3pm to 8:30 am each day over the course of two weeks. To access the space, they’d enter through the back of a gift shop, down a long tunnel where they’d walk down 200 feet of stairs to reach the entrance. Dahl and her bandmates did this steep walk with a piano. The ceiling of Lost World Caverns is massively high and is a perfect dome. The inside was also 98 percent humidity, leading to both stellar sound and also problems with tuning and gear. Engineer Ryan Howe sat in his parents Subaru above the cave with his mixing board and computer, and threaded cables down 90 feet through a hole in the ground to the ceiling of the cave.
This album, so fully realized and diligently executed, is a long time coming for Dahl, who has been performing as Sloppy Jane since she was a teenager. In those days, Sloppy Jane was a three-piece punk band. Its earliest members were Phoebe Bridgers on bass, Sarah Cath on guitar, and Imogen Teasley-Vlautin on drums. Now the band has over a dozen members, and has transformed into a chamber pop project. Dahl also learned so much as a musician: on Madison, she learned how to write for chamber instruments and taught herself the piano. The record is difficult to categorize. It’s David Bowie but also when the song “Crying,” by Roy Orbison plays at the end of Harmony Korine’s Gummo. It’s My Chemical Romance meets Sgt. Pepper. Courtney Love and Queen. It’s a huge, flowery, velvety thing full of toy horses and stalagmites. It follows one major through line: a grand gesture so large that it moves the whole Earth.
Sloppy Jane will celebrate the album release with two headline shows; the first in New York City at Baby’s Alright on Sunday, November 7th and the second in Los Angeles at Pico Union Project on December 3rd. Dahl will also perform at Pitchfork Music Festival Paris and Pitchfork Music Festival London in November and open for Iceage in February 2022. All dates below.
Sloppy Jane Live Shows:
Nov 7th, 2021 – New York City, NY – Baby’s Alright^
Nov 14th, 2021 – London, England – Pitchfork Music Festival London
Nov 19th, 2021 – Paris, France – Pitchfork Music Festival Paris
Dec 3rd, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA – Pico Union Project^
Feb 12th, 2022 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel*
Feb 13th, 2022 – Felton, CA – Felton Music Hall*
Feb 17th, 2022 – Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon*
Feb 19th, 2022 – Pioneertown, CA – Venue TBD*
Feb 20th, 2022 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah*
Feb 21st, 2022 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress*
Feb 24th, 2022 – Houston, TX – The Secret Group*
Feb 25th, 2022 – New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa*
Feb 26th, 2022 – Jacksonville, FL – Intuition Ale Works*
Feb 28th, 2022 – Orlando, FL – The Social*
Mar 1st, 2022 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West*
Mar 2nd, 2022 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East*
Mar 3rd, 2022 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle*
Mar 4th, 2022 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall*
Mar 5th, 2022 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar*
Mar 7th, 2022 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair*
Mar 8th, 2022 – Providence, RI – Columbia Theatre*
Mar 10th, 2022 – New York City, NY – Bowery Ballroom*
Mar 11th, 2022 – Holyoke, MA – Gateway City Arts*
Mar 12th, 2022 – Kingston, NY – Tubby’s Kingston*
*Opening for Iceage