Words by:
Photography: Lauren Davis

“I’m not interested in reflecting the current moment,” Shane Lavers says, from under a huge black hoodie. As Chanel Beads, he creates complex, melancholic music that intentionally resists being placed in time.

Recent singles like Police Scanner and Idea June sound dusty and faded, and were made from textural electronic collages which hide deceptively catchy melodies under samples of shouted speech or distorted violin. Lavers’ songs often end on the off-beat, or directly before the chorus should hit, as if your car radio abruptly lost signal. They feel ephemeral, like you’ll hum them for years but might never find them again. 

Despite the title, Lavers’ forthcoming debut album Your Day Will Come wasn’t always meant to be. The New York-based musician started out by dropping pairs of songs (like 2023’s shoegazey fan favourite Ef and its looser counterpart, Shining Armor) and would tell himself the project wouldn’t grow beyond that. But as his collaborative team expanded to include his partner Maya McGrory, who plays guitar and sings feather-light vocals, and Zachary Schwartz, who uses his violin to create transcendental drone, Lavers says the “world of the sound” widened out. Suddenly an album felt within reach. Chanel Beads is still technically a solo project – “it all starts and ends with me,” he says – but most live footage shows the three of them standing toe-to-toe with the crowd, veering between blissed-out ambience and raw, hardcore intensity. 

With cryptic lyrics about grief, bravery and fear, as well as a neurotic focus on the passage of time (as on eerie opener Dedicated to the World: “I had that thought again/ Is memory just acting out, erasing/ What did you see?”), Lavers is interested in extreme feeling, equally inspired by midwest emo heroes Cap’n Jazz and industrial noise music. Project highlight Embarrassed Dog wears both influences proudly; the song is split into two parts – one whispered, the other screamed. It introduces a toughened, cathartic kind of vulnerability that later peaks on Urn, with a sweetly scratchy acoustic riff building until it becomes threatening and dark, while feedback squeals like a punctured balloon.

“A lot of the inspiration for my music comes from those fleeting moments when you have a surge of confidence, a eureka moment, and you can tie your worldview into a neat little bow. Then, a second later, you’re like, ‘Oh no! That doesn’t make any sense.’ It all falls apart immediately,” he laughs, bashfully. This unpredictability threads through Lavers’ gently subversive approach to the idea that there can be any single, fixed, ‘official’ version of a song. “People might watch a music video and be like, ‘Wait, is that the right song?’ Confusion is an awesome space to work in; it’s an active way of interacting with any kind of art.” 

Indeed, Your Day Will Come invites unusually close, intimate listening. Its artwork swerves the lo-fi, late-night iPhone aesthetic of Lavers’ previous releases for a cropped, greyscale edit of a 20th-century oil painting in which a crowd has gathered on a beach, engrossed by something happening just beyond the frame. The message is in the crop: Chanel Beads’ music is about life continuing, messily, in a way that you can’t ever fully capture. Rarely does a debut album feel so rich with secrets that you’ll spend an hour internet-wormholing just to find the original painting in full. But then again, as Lavers puts it, “sometimes it’s nice just to let yourself imagine the rest”.

Sounds like: Guitar music warped through distorted electronics

Soundtrack for: Waiting for the last bus

File next to: Alex G, youarelistening.to

Our favourite song: Embarrassed Dog 

Where to find him: @chanelbeads

Your Day Will Come is out on 19 April via Jagjaguwar