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Survival Guide Announces Fourth Full-Length Album deathdreams out October 19, "Blood Perfume" Out

“Over the last few years, I've had a handful of dreams that involved my own death in various ways, and they've all been profound for me,” says Emily "Agent M" Whitehurst (former vocalist for punk standouts Tsunami Bomb) about the themes surrounding her upcoming fourth full-length Survival Guide album deathdreams (release date: October 19, 2023via Double Helix Records). “It seemed natural to call the album deathdreams after this theme, and I like the opposing imagery and feelings those words can conjure. I like the way dreams can be thought of as soft, sweet, or strange, and death as dark and ominous. These are all descriptors that fit various songs on the album as well, so it seemed like the right title for the collection.”

The first single “Blood Perfume” - out today - found Whitehurst writing from the perspective of people or entities (such as social media, religion, an emotionally abusive partner or family member, politics, drugs, etc) that can “turn negative” when we allow them control. “Not that all those things are inherently bad,” she adds, “but I feel like we can be so easily manipulated sometimes, and we don’t even know it’s happening. I love how the feel of this song turned out very ominous, but also dry and straightforward.” The accompanying music video (also out today) is a short horror film involving a serial killer who gruesomely dispatches the body. "Yes, there was blood and violence involved [in the video]," she laughs, "but none of it was real of course... although I did have to really drag a man's body in a tarp, which was pretty difficult! I hope people aren't too scared to watch it!"

Produced by Bob Hoag (Dear and the Headlights, The Ataris, The Format) at Flying Blanket Recording in Mesa, AZ, the songs on deathdreams range from chillingly eerie rhythms (“Stay Dead”), to '70s-styled secret agent spy theme ("Sharpshooter")to a melancholic piano ballad (“I’ll Picture You”). At times a darkly sonic and emotional hand grenade, and others a sparkly shimmering rainbow of rich melodies and textures, deathdreams is a tour de force that showcases the breadth and depth of Whitehurst’s songwriting, lyrical imagery, and vocal fortitude. Far-ranging in its topic matter, the album touches on the themes of anxiety (“wordswordswords”) and the dangers of societal influences (“Bad Little Seed”), coupled with Whitehurst’s dreams about dying (“Lady Neptune"). “My favorite kinds of albums are the ones that take you places and have a song for every mood, so that's what I made,” she says excitedly.

Originally a duo, Survival Guide’s first album, Way To Go – dubbed “passion behind an electronic soul” by New Noise Magazine – was released in 2015. It was around this time when Survival Guide slowly and amicably, yet painfully became a solo act, leaving Whitehurst unsure of what to do next. Never having written or performed music alone, she considered everything from starting a new band to quitting music altogether. After a major geographical shift (moving from Petaluma, California to San Antonio, Texas), an acoustic album, and some solo touring, she’s finally returned solo as Survival Guide.

In January of this year, she released the non-streaming limited edition 7-inch Request Hotline, Vol 1.5,limited to 500 copies on randomly-colored vinyl. RHV1.5 was a taster for the February release of the 11-track, digital-only Request Hotline, Vol. 2, featuring all songs from the 7” plus an eclectic array of bold and unique re-imaginings of punk tracks by Green Day, Runaways, Avril Lavigne, The Distillers, Tony Sly, Sleater-Kinney, and Maybe Tomorrow. It also includes the four songs from the 7-inch mini-album, which consists of intriguing dance-party interpretations of AFI's "Girl's Not Grey" and "Totalimmortal" and a pair of contemplative, piano-serenade-style Misfits covers of "Skulls" and "Hybrid Moments."

With her past fully beyond her, Survival Guide is both Whitehurst’s present and future – and if deathdreams is any indication, it is a bright future for Whitehurst, her legions of fans the world over, and the many new fans for whom deathdreams will be the reason they discover Survival Guide for the first time. “I’ve learned a lot over the last few years – not only about songwriting and recording, but also about myself and the ways I’ve been holding myself back,” she says. “I’m excited to funnel it all into music.”

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