Weekender | Photo by Jen Bragan | courtesy of the artist

A year ago, Derek Sheehan pulled his band Weekender back a step from the hard-gigging grind they were on in the Philly show circuit. He needed to make new music; he needed to focus. And he was frustrated with the lack of focus he was finding around him.

You can hear it in “Loving/Hating,” the driving opening track on Weekender’s new Floaty Feeling, Blue – which we’re happy to be streaming for you in full today ahead of its January 15th release on PaperCup Music. Alongside arcing guitar riffs and spectral fuzz reminiscent of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Reverence, The Stone Roses’ self-titled and The Charlatans’ Some Friendly, the song speaks candidly of stress and self-medicating.

“I’m not thinking about tomorrow,” sings Sheehan. “Although I should.”

And in short turn, he did; those words reflect a turning point, and Sheehan used the time off to revamp his band and record the new EP. For folks who were fans of the heavy psychedelia on his debut Spanish Peaks, the new Floaty expands on that sound with tremendous results. For newcomers, it’s a fantastic introduction.

“There’s definitely a lot going on, but it all works together,” Sheehan says when I caught up with him by phone. “You can listen in and focus in on different pieces, different instruments or melodies each time you listen.” Which is why he likes recording solo and over time. “You can really experiment with all those layerings, with everything you want to put on [a song].”

Weekender has mostly been Sheehan’s DIY recording project, and has taken shape in various configurations over time with a bit of a rotating cast of players. This year, after recording with Kyle Johnson at Fancy Time Studio, Weekender regrouped with drummer Jesse Petas, guitarist Steven Rosplock, bassist Brendan McGeehan, and keyboard player Dan Mudd – who Sheehan met by chance while grabbing drinks at Beast & Ale.

“I was talking about music with my girlfriend Kelly, he heard us and asked if I was a musician,” Sheehan recalls. “I don’t always ask back when people ask about it, but this time I did. he mentioned he had a Roland Juno 60 and I was like ‘hey, can I get your email?'”

This week, there’s a flurry of activity surrounding the release of the new music – on Wednesday, they’ll throw a listening party at Prohibition Taproom with Floaty Feeling, Blue-themed mixed drinks and early vinyl up for sale. On Friday, they headline the first of two album release parties in New York, playing Berlin in Alphabet City. Then on Saturday, they bring the party to Johnny Brenda’s to headline their release show (more information at the XPN Concert Calendar).

Below, listen to Weekender’s new Floaty Feeling, Blue EP in its entirety.