IN FALL 2011, Portland band Anne—at the time, a quartet—released its first full-length LP, Dream Punx, a staggering and critically lauded "nu-gaze" debut that was one of the best local releases of that year. The band's future looked bright. After a follow-up 7-inch and a split release with Whirr, however, the group folded.
Fast-forward to present day, and Anne has returned with a new album, Pulling Chain. On the surface, it's a completely different beast than its predecessor. While the project has always been under the creative dominion of the dangerously articulate and subtly despotic singer/songwriter/producer David Lindell, Anne is now unequivocally a solo moniker, perhaps reflected by the complete lack of live instrumentation on the album.
"When [Anne] was a band, we had problems with everyone being on the same page and wanting to accomplish the same things," Lindell says. "It really just kind of petered out. I tried coordinating our next step, but I just couldn't get people organized. After that, I started writing the new material, and first I was thinking it might be a whole new project, but I realized I was doing all of the grunt work for the band and most of the writing in the first place—so I just decided to turn Anne into a solo project."
Lindell officially resuscitated Anne in October with the Jerusalem EP, an erotic, dense, dance-centric affair that aesthetically might seem like a far cry from the group's previous efforts. But Lindell insists this stylistic departure isn't inorganic or any sort of broader statement, and indeed, much of the material on both Jerusalem and Pulling Chain (standout "Blonde Men" appears on both releases) wouldn't sound out of place on Dream Punx, as long as those synths and samples were exchanged for delay-laden guitar licks and nebulous vocal melodies.
"There was definitely some stuff on [Dream Punx] that was very dance influenced—I don't think it's that big of a jump, but I guess some people get hung up on the fact that it's kind of clubby," Lindell says. "I feel like the aesthetic change has thrown a lot of people off who may have liked the older band stuff, but compositionally, I feel like I'm doing the same things."
Although Lindell cut his teeth playing punk shows—and the DIY ideology is still something he's clearly passionate about ("I've never had to deal with any of this 'business' stuff before," he says wearily on the heels of SXSW)—he intends to start making the rounds in the club circuit with Anne, an environment he believes is probably a better fit for the project's new direction, anyway.
"I don't know if it's necessarily a part of my music, but as a person I'm interested in relating to an audience that comes from a punk or hardcore background. I really like being accessible to those kinds of listeners, but I also don't want to become trapped in it, because it's not something that works for me, ultimately. But on the other hand I have a lot mixed feelings about the [punk scene], and I want to push whatever I'm doing forward and not feel like whatever I do has to be okayed by the punk kids."