Illiterate Light, a Virginia-based indie-rock band, released its third EP on Sept. 15 ahead of its tour stop at New Brookland Tavern next week.
According to Jeff Gorman, Illiterate Light's lead singer and guitarist, "Aloe" is a continuation of the band's prior album "Sunburned," which was released in January.
"I think it’s a compliment. It’s like the cousin of the record that we put out earlier this year,” Gorman said. "I think it was just a way for us to kind of show another side of what we do in the studio and also like lighten up some of the tones from 'Sunburned,' which was a little bit heavier and darker. 'Aloe' is still heavy, but it's just got a little bit more of like a joyousness to it."
According to drummer Jake Cochran, the EP was months in the making, with many of the songs written during the recording of "Sunburned."
"At the end of that writing process, when we went to record, we were looking at about 30 songs that we loved, and we decided to whittle it down to nine for 'Sunburned,'" Cochran said. "These other songs feel like a different color palette than the songs that we chose for 'Sunburned,' so 'Aloe' is a selection of some of those outliers."
The title for "Sunburned" came from a lyric on the third track of the album, and “Aloe” was named as a response to that.
"I think a few people made the joke, and at certain point we just kind of thought it was a little bit hilarious,” Gorman said. “We crowdsourced the name 'Aloe.'"
One of the first songs on "Aloe" features lead vocals by Cochran, which he said was new territory for him and Illiterate Light.
"A new thing about this EP is there's a song on it called 'Always Always' that I'm the lead singer of, where typically Jeff is the lead singer on everything we've put out before. So, for me, that's been a very new experience. Taking a moment of fronting the band in that way from the drum set," Cochran said.
Illiterate Light is touring from September until December to highlight the band's new material. Columbia and Charleston-based indie band, Homemade Haircuts, will open for the duo at New Brookland Tavern on Oct. 5. The two bands also played together at Solfest Rollfest 2022 in Columbia, an event where the stage was powered by bicycles.
"Feels like a long time coming and like an exciting opportunity to be able to open up the show and then support them in Columbia," Bob Magee, vocalist and guitarist of Homemade Haircuts, said.
Photographer Brittany Hernandez said she has worked with both Illiterate Light and Homemade Haircuts consistently since meeting Gorman and Cochran at a show in 2018.
"Ever since (meeting them), I go to like local shows and see them and take pictures for them," said Hernandez. "They've become like good friends of mine."
Magee, who is currently on tour with Hernandez for his own band, described the upcoming show as a reunion for the mutual friends.
"We both kind of befriended Illiterate Light independently, and then we also kind of started collaborating, like on music and touring and photos and stuff. So, it feels like Illiterate Light coming to South Carolina is like a fun reunion," Magee said.
Hernandez expressed her admiration for the band's dedication to their fans and said it is a distinct characteristic of who Gorman and Cochran are.
"They're just like such genuine people. I've never met bands that, like they'll hang out at the merch table so late into the night just like talking with everybody," Hernandez said.
Gorman said those fan interactions have become key to what the band is, but it is something that has come with time.
"It was kind of about staring at your feet and just being really non-engaging, and that was not the vibe for us," Gorman said. "We stood out right away because like we wanted to engage people, we wanted people to sing our songs."
"Aloe" is now available on major music streaming services, including Spotify.