Mike Simonetti is the kind of guy you'd want to speak to if you wanted to write a book about underground music over the past two decades: he put out records by the likes The Walkmen, Black Dice, Prurient, Wolf Eyes, and Zola Jesus (he also put out a record by Speedking, James Murphy's old band) with his label Troubleman Unlimited before helping Johnny Jewel start Italians Do It Better. Talk about good A&Ring!
Italians Do It Better are still very much active – they just announced a new Chromatics album – but Simonetti has split from the label to start 2MR, or "Two Mikes Records", so named because it's being run alongside Mike Sniper from Captured Tracks.
There was apparently no bad blood with Simonetti's split from Italians – as he explained to Billboard, the label was "becoming more of Johnny's thing, basically. I wanted to do my own thing and let him have Italians. It didn't make any sense for me to be there — it was too hard to get things done because he was never around. Even when he was around, he was always busy."
2MR will release 'The Past We Leave Behind', a new album by Simonetti and vocalist Elizabeth Wight under the name Pale Blue. Simonetti met Wight when he was asked to remix her band Silver Hands. Stunned by her voice, they started an email exchange, leading to their collaboration.
Pale Blue was conceived around the time that Hurricane Sandy hit New York and came to completion as Simonetti left Italians, and as such many of the tracks that make up 'The Past We Leave Behind' deal with these themes of loss and beginning anew.
With this in mind, you can stream the album's title track now.
Pale Blue 'The Past We Leave Behind' tracklist:
01. The Past We Leave Behind
02. The Scars
03. Distance To The Waves
07. The Scars (Reprise)
08. Dusk In Parts
09. The Math
11. The Eye
13. One Last Thing
2MR/Captured Tracks release 'The Past We Leave Behind' on April 13th 2014 (pre-order).