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Tuesday, January 27, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  Overcast
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Deleted Scenes craft poppy art rock from stark themes
Love, death and amphetamines

Washington, D.C.'s Deleted Scenes make art rock from a broad palette of sonic colors, painting their soundscapes with sunny shades of surf rock and smudges of dark, alluring funk.

Like Talking Heads, the band craft accessible lyrics from brainy, existential observations and use rhythms to transform their poppiest melodies into ebullient, dance-friendly meditations on themes like love, death and amphetamines. The quartet's sophomore album, Young People's Church of the Air, swathes words in psychedelic fuzz, propelling listeners into a haze of ancient memories and hopes for the future.

I spoke with front man and songwriter Dan Scheuerman about the group's sound and their latest trip to the recording studio. Catch their live show this Saturday at the UW Union South Sett.

How did Young People's Church of the Air come together?

We had been collecting the songs for a couple of years and playing them on the road a lot. Once we got into the studio, we decided to demolish them. This involved stripping away some parts of the live arrangement and building them into something new and interesting.

I've heard that the album was inspired by Southeast Asian psych-pop and Elliott Smith's From a Basement on the Hill. How so?

I was listening to these Burmese psych recordings that were discovered in the '70s and released in the 2000s. They have this warped, mangled quality that mediates the performances in an amazing way. From a Basement on the Hill has a fantastic, warbly weirdness as well. It sounds cough-syrupy, in a good way. That's something we aspire to.

What's the story behind the album's title?

Our last day in the studio, we found a hymnal from this 1930s radio program that called itself a "church of the air." We'd been looking for a title that evokes the false happiness people often settle for to get by, and a church without a foundation illustrates that idea. The church may not exist anymore, but it has a sense of hope, no matter how unrealistic that is.

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