Pearl Jam have released a new single, “Dark Matter.” The rousing, guitar-heavy track is the title track and first listen off the rock band’s forthcoming 12th LP, out April 19 via Monkeywrench/Republic.
Dark Matter, a follow-up to 2020’s Gigaton, was produced Andrew Watt at Rick Rubin‘s Shangri-La studio in Malibu. It was recorded in three weeks. A news post on the band’s website notes that the recording “channels the shared spirit of a group of lifelong creative confidants and brothers in one room playing as if their very lives depended on it.”
The band debuted Dark Matter at a listening party in late January at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, with frontman Eddie Vedder telling the crowd, “No hyperbole, I think this is our best work.”
Last month, guitarist Mike McCready told Classic Rock that the album is “a lot heavier than you’d expect.” “There’s the melody and energy of the first couple of records,” he said. “Andrew pushed us to play as hard and melodic and thoughtful as we’ve done in a long time. I feel like Matt Cameron’s drumming has elements of what he did in Soundgarden. For better or worse, you’re gonna hear a lot more lead guitar from me, stuff I haven’t done in a long time… Usually the first or second takes are best. After that I start thinking about it and it doesn’t have the feel. But Andrew caught the lightning in a bottle, as they say.”
He added of working with Wyatt, “He’s really a rock guy at heart – I think we’re his favorite band. When we were in the studio with him this past year, he really kicked our asses, got us focused and playing, song after song. It took a long time to make Gigaton, but this new one didn’t take long. Andrew was like: ‘You guys take forever to make records. Let’s do this, right now.’”
Pearl Jam will headline 2024 BottleRock Festival in Napa Valley, California in May. It will mark Pearl Jam’s first appearance at the festival. It’s also their only North American date on the books, but they are playing a pair of European festivals in July. The band is expected to announce more shows in support of Dark Matter soon.
The album’s packaging features light painting art by Alexandr Gnezdilov, created using a large self-made kaleidoscope. It will be available on vinyl and CD, as well as digital. Dark Matter is available to pre-order now.