Heads Up (Warpaint album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Heads Up
A black-and-white photograph featuring a silhouette of four women standing in a loft windowsill. Pink uppercase text at the bottom center reads "Warpaint".
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 23, 2016 (2016-09-23)
RecordedJanuary–May 2016 (2016-05)
LabelRough Trade
  • Jake Bercovici
  • Warpaint
Warpaint chronology
"Keep It Healthy"/"Disco//Very" Remixes
Heads Up
Singles from Heads Up
  1. "New Song"
    Released: August 1, 2016 (2016-08-01)
  2. "Whiteout"
    Released: September 19, 2016 (2016-09-19)

Heads Up is the third studio album by the American indie rock band Warpaint. It was released on September 23, 2016 on Rough Trade Records. Heads Up was produced by Warpaint and Jake Bercovici, who had previously worked with the band on their debut extended play, Exquisite Corpse (2008). The album was preceded by the single "New Song".


Warpaint released its eponymous second studio album in January 2014 to generally favorable reviews.[1] The band toured in promotion of the album until summer 2015, after which its members began separate projects. Vocalist and guitarist Emily Kokal collaborated with folk musician Paul Bergmann, contributing vocals to Bergmann's extended play Romantic Thoughts (2015);[2] vocalist and guitarist Theresa Wayman formed a supergroup, BOSS, with Sarah Jones of Hot Chip and Guro Gikling of All We Are, and recorded material for a solo album;[3] drummer Stella Mozgawa recorded with Kurt Vile, Cate Le Bon and Kim Gordon;[4] and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg released her debut solo album, Right On! (2015), on which Mozgawa also performed drums. According to Lindberg, each member's projects gave the band a "fresh perspective" when writing material for Heads Up.[5]

In an interview with NME in early 2015, Warpaint declared its original intention to release single songs over a period of time in lieu of a third studio album. Wayman explained that the process of "writing, recording, mixing, mastering, releasing, touring … it's two years dedicated to one thing. We want to do bits here and there, like back in the day when they used to make single [sic]." Kokal added that the band's writing process had become more simplified and that when the band "agree that we're stoked about [a new song], we're done. That's a lesson we've learned—not to overanalyse".[6] "No Way Out", a song originally intended for Warpaint, was released in February 2015 and "I'll Start Believing" was released in March;[7][8] both songs, and a "redux" version of "No Way Out", were released together as a double A-side single the same month.[9]


Warpaint began recording sessions for Heads Up on January 12, 2016[10] with producer Jake Bercovici, who had produced the band's debut EP, Exquisite Corpse (2008), and the 2015 single "No Way Out"/"I'll Start Believing". The album was recorded at House on the Hill—a studio in downtown Los Angeles, California—and Papap's Palace, with additional recording taking place at each band member's home studios. Describing the process of recording individually, Mozgawa said: "The doors were a little more open in terms of what was accepted and what wasn't, because we were sharing ideas so rapidly between us"; Lindberg said that each member "was allowed to have their space, time and creative freedom with songs".[11] The band regularly updated its Instagram account with images and video from the sessions. According to one post, the band finished mixing Heads Up on May 9.[12]


Consequence of Sound referred to Heads Up as "an eclectic collection" influenced stylistically by Björk, Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar and Outkast,[13] and Crack magazine described it as an "au courant post-genre exploration of the sounds [the band members] grew up hearing", noting that the album includes a track titled "Dre", a reference to the rapper and hip-hop producer Dr. Dre; Warpaint included a track titled "Biggy", a reference to the Notorious B.I.G. According to Lindberg, Heads Up is less guitar-oriented than the band's back catalogue and "half of the album has more emphasis on guitar and the other has less"; Lindberg considers Heads Up as "[sounding] like a mature version of Warpaint".[14] Crack considered three of the album's tracks ("New Song", "So Good" and "Dre") as alternative pop "potentials", which are "a reflection of the times … dealing in moody atmospherics and left-of-center reworkings of mainstream trends".[15]

Describing Heads Up just prior to the album's recording sessions, Mozgawa said her rhythms were "a little more dancey" and "a little higher on the BPM scale" in comparison to Warpaint's earlier material.[16] Kokal further described the album's rhythms as "dancier, faster and fun", noting that Heads Up best captured the "spirit" of the band's live performances.[15] Mozgawa used computer-based drum machines to compose several of the songs' drum patterns in early 2015, after she sustained a foot injury which left her unable to physically perform.[16]


Heads Up was released worldwide on September 23, 2016 on Rough Trade Records. It was released on CD, standard and deluxe-edition LP and as a digital download. The deluxe-edition double LP was printed on pink and black vinyl and includes an exclusive 7-inch of the double A-side single "No Way Out"/"I'll Start Believing". The album was announced in an official press release on August 1, 2016,[11] however, several Japanese online retailers—including Amazon Japan and Tower Records Japan—listed it for pre-order three weeks prior.[17][18] A 30-second teaser video, featuring the band members on a rooftop and a clip of "New Song", was uploaded to YouTube by Rough Trade on July 28,[19][20] and "New Song" was released as the album's lead single on August 1 as a digital download, online stream and single-sided 7-inch.[21][22]

Warpaint toured Heads Up from August to November 2016. The band announced several international dates in Europe and North America, beginning on August 18 at Pukkelpop in Hasselt, Belgium and concluding on November 4 at Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavík, Iceland.[23] During a short two-date tour of the United Kingdom in July prior to the album's announcement, the band debuted "New Song",[24] and debuted "White Out" at a one-off show as part of the School Night series at Baby's All Right in Brooklyn, New York later the same month. Since then "The Stall", "So Good", "Heads Up" and "Today Dear" have also been performed live.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[27]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[28]
The Guardian4/5 stars[29]
The Independent3/5 stars[30]
The Irish Times3/5 stars[31]
Mojo4/5 stars[32]
Q3/5 stars[35]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[36]

Upon its release Heads Up was well received by music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album reviewed an average score of 74, based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26] The album has been characterized as art rock[37] and indietronica.[38]


Publication Accolade Year Rank Ref.
American Songwriter Top 50 Albums of 2016 2016
Rough Trade Albums of the Year 2016

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Warpaint.

2."By Your Side"4:32
3."New Song"4:16
4."The Stall"4:55
5."So Good"5:59
6."Don't Wanna"3:42
7."Don't Let Go"4:21
9."Heads Up"4:57
10."Above Control"5:05
11."Today Dear"4:49
Total length:51:16
Japanese Bonus Tracks
12."I'll Start Believing"2:58
13."No Way Out"7:20
Total length:61:34


All personnel credits adapted from Heads Up's album notes.[41]


Additional musicians



  • H. Hawkline – design, cover art
  • Ken Life – design, cover art
  • Mia Kirby – photography


Chart (2016) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[42] 51
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[43] 75
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[44] 60
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[45] 43
French Albums (SNEP)[46] 47
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[47] 53
Irish Albums (IRMA)[48] 20
New Zealand Heatseekers Albums (RMNZ)[49] 1
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[50] 33
Scottish Albums (OCC)[51] 14
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[52] 37
UK Albums (OCC)[53] 13
US Billboard 200[54] 129

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Distributor Catalog
Worldwide[11] September 23, 2016 2×LP, CD, digital download, LP Rough Trade Rough Trade RTRAD780
Japan[18] CD Hostess Entertainment BGJ-4028


  1. ^ "Reviews for Warpaint by Warpaint". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  2. ^ Domanick, Andrea (September 10, 2015). "Premiere: Paul Bergmann and Warpaint's Emily Kokal Team Up for Forlorn Duet "Wishing Song"". Noisey (Vice). Vice Media. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  3. ^ Hendicott, James (October 17, 2015). "Warpaint's Theresa Wayman launches first tracks from 'BOSS' project – listen". NME. Time UK. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  4. ^ Gordon, Jeremy (November 6, 2015). "Kurt Vile Releases Spotify Sessions EP featuring Warpaint's Stella Mozgawa". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Mojica, Frank (January 5, 2016). "Get Your Jujus Out: An Interview with Jennylee". Noisey (Vice). Vice Media. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Hillyard, Kim (March 18, 2015). "Warpaint: 'We don't wanna do an album right now'". NME. Time UK. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  7. ^ Staff writer(s) (February 25, 2015). "Hear Warpaint's New Song "No Way Out"". Rough Trade Records. Beggars Group. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  8. ^ Staff writer(s) (March 12, 2015). "Warpaint Release Brand New Song "I'll Start Believing"". Rough Trade Records. Beggars Group. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Day, Laurence (March 12, 2016). "Listen: Warpaint – "I'll Start Believing"/"No Way Out"". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  10. ^ Milton, Jamie (January 12, 2016). "Warpaint have started recording their new album". DIY. Sonic Media Group. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Staff writer(s) (August 1, 2016). "Warpaint – Heads Up Pre-Order". Rough Trade Records. Beggars Group. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  12. ^ Warpaint (May 9, 2016). "final night, final mix..." Instagram. Facebook. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Geslani, Michelle (August 1, 2016). "Warpaint announce new album, Heads Up, share "New Song" — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  14. ^ Staff writer(s) (August 1, 2016). "Warpaint Announce New Album, 'Heads Up'". Rough Trade Records. Beggars Group. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Muller, Marissa G. (August 2, 2016). "Warpaint: Breathe Out". Crack. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Snook, Emma (December 15, 2015). "Stella Mozgawa: "I'm musically and creatively promiscuous"". DIY. Sonic Media Group. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  17. ^ "ウォーペイント : ヘッズ・アップ - ミュージック" [Warpaint: Heads Up – Music]. Amazon Japan. July 11, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Warpaint/ヘッズ・アップ" [Warpaint – Heads Up]. Tower Records Japan (in Japanese). July 9, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  19. ^ Staff writer(s) (July 28, 2016). "A message from Warpaint". Rough Trade Records. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  20. ^ Hunt, El (July 28, 2016). "Warpaint are up to something!". DIY. Sonic Media Group. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  21. ^ "New Song – Warpaint". Spotify. August 1, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  22. ^ "New Song" (Single notes). Warpaint. Rough Trade Records. 2016. RTRADS815.CS1 maint: others (link)
  23. ^ Minsker, Evan (June 16, 2016). "Warpaint Announce Tour". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  24. ^ Mojica, Frank (July 3, 2016). "Warpaint Debuts New Song, Plays During Double Rainbow". MAT Magazine. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  25. ^ "Heads Up by Warpaint reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  26. ^ a b "Reviews for Heads Up by Warpaint". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  27. ^ Phares, Heather. "Heads Up – Warpaint". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  28. ^ Kot, Greg (September 23, 2016). "Warpaint gets sultry on the dance floor on 'Heads Up'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  29. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (September 22, 2016). "Warpaint: Heads Up review – LA art-rockers take a sideways swerve". The Guardian. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  30. ^ Hasted, Nick (September 22, 2016). "Album reviews: Bruce Springsteen – Chapter and Verse, Okkervil River – Away, Warpaint – Heads Up, Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition, and more". The Independent. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  31. ^ Jones, Chris (September 23, 2016). "Album of the Week – Warpaint's Heads Up: grooves of a different hue". The Irish Times. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  32. ^ Chick, Stevie (September 22, 2016). "Warpaint – Heads Up". Mojo. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  33. ^ Daly, Rhian (September 23, 2016). "Warpaint – 'Heads Up' Review". NME. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  34. ^ Reyes-Kulkarni, Saby (September 29, 2016). "Warpaint: Heads Up". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  35. ^ Price, Simon (November 2016). "Dream Warriors". Q (365): 115.
  36. ^ Dolan, Jon (September 23, 2016). "Review: Warpaint's 'Heads Up' Is L.A. Dream-Rockers at Their Most Danceable". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  37. ^ Foster, Jordan (September 22, 2016). "Album Review: Warpaint - Heads Up". Gigwise. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  38. ^ Tomer, William (September 28, 2016). "Warpaint - Heads Up". The 405. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  39. ^ "American Songwriter's Top 50 Albums of 2016". American Songwriter. December 1, 2016. Archived from the original on December 2, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  40. ^ "Albums of the Year". Rough Trade. November 14, 2016. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  41. ^ Heads Up (Album notes). Warpaint. Rough Trade Records. 2016. RTRADLPX780.CS1 maint: others (link)
  42. ^ "CHART WATCH #388". auspOp. October 1, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  43. ^ "Ultratop.be – Warpaint – Heads Up" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  44. ^ "Ultratop.be – Warpaint – Heads Up" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  45. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Warpaint – Heads Up" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  46. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes - SNEP (Week 39, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  47. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Warpaint – Heads Up" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  48. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 39, 2016". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  49. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. October 3, 2016. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  50. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Warpaint – Heads Up". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  51. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  52. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Warpaint – Heads Up". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  53. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  54. ^ "Warpaint Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 4, 2016.

External links[edit]