Concert preview: 'New Song' gives new life to Warpaint on third LP

Joel Oliphint

Warpaint isn't the type of band you'd expect to release a dance-club banger. The Los Angeles dream-pop quartet has been known for creating arty, moody, downtempo indie rock since its inception more than 10 years ago. But while recording new albumHeads Up, a demo originally titled "It's Not that Deep" became "New Song," the band's poppiest, most danceable song to date.

Typically, the writing and recording of Warpaint's albums (2010'sThe Fool and 2014's self-titled LP) has been a lengthy process, but when the four bandmates (singer/guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg and drummer Stella Mozgawa) reconvened after pursuing side projects and other collaborations, they decided to take a different, faster approach.

"[Previously], every single idea had to go through four people's minds, and they have to kind of approve yes or no," said Mozgawa recently by phone. "That can be really time-consuming. It can also throw people off their confidence of a certain idea. … We wanted to give ourselves less time so we would avoid the distraction and luxury of having too much time. It resulted in a lot less tension and more spontaneity and confidence in our initial ideas."

That first-thought-best-thought philosophy helped lead to the creation of "New Song," an uptempo, electro-pop raver the band will bring to Express Live for the CD102.5 Holiday Show on Friday, Dec. 2, playing alongside Band of Horses and Hamilton Leithauser.

"It just naturally became this disco-pop song, and instead of being like, 'Oh, wow, our fans are going to be really confused,' it was like, fuck it, who cares. We like the song. We made the song," said Mozgawa, who also contributed synthesizer and other electronic instruments toHeads Up. "When it first came out there were people on Twitter who were like, 'What? That's crazy.' Or someone would be like, 'Warpaint 2007 is the peak of Warpaint.' And it's like OK, cool, but we're going to just keep making music."

Mozgawa said the stylistic left turn happened organically, without nudging from the label or anyone else. "We weren't trying to get an extra buck out of this song because no one makes money out of music anyway, so that's not necessarily a wonderful objective in 2016," she said. "If no one describes exactly how a song was made, they hear that song versus something on our last album or our first album, and they'll make assumptions that these fat cats from the record company smoking cigars in the back rooms of Capitol Records [were saying], 'Oh, this Warpaint band. We're gonna make some money out of these chicks!'

"That's a nice narrative, but it's so far from the truth it's ridiculous. I think people are still trapped in the reality that bands sell out. And maybe some bands do. But all we did was we wrote a song that was a little bit poppier than what we usually do. … Why do you have to keep playing to people's idea of who you are instead of just making music that you wanna make?"

Express Live

6 p.m. Friday,

Dec. 2

405 Neil Ave.,

Arena District

ALSO PLAYING: Band of Horses, Hamilton Leithauser, Montezuma