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Exclusive: Guster Has ‘Become Something Else’ on New Song ‘Simple Machine’

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For their first new single since 2010, “Simple Machine,” the alt-rock veterans of Guster decided to keep things, well, fairly simple.

“‘Simple Machine’ started in the basement with blown-out guitars and a heavy metal feel underneath Ryan [Miller]’s verse melody,” drummer Brian Rosenworcel says of the track, which premieres exclusively at TIME below, along with the b-side “Long Night.” “In the studio, we found a beat and put a sequencer on it and realized it didn’t need much else.”

The song is the first taste of Guster’s seventh studio album, Evermotion, which comes out Jan. 13 next year and was produced by Richard Swift of The Shins and the Black Keys’ touring band. “Simple Machine” has also become an accidental statement about Guster’s two-decade career, which has seen the band’s sound expand from twin acoustic guitars and bongos to the frantic beats and crawling synthesizers heard on the track.

“I don’t think Ryan meant the lyric this way,” Rosenworcel says, “but it’s apropos for our band — ‘we have become something else.'”

Evermotion is out Jan. 13 on Ocho Mule/Nettwerk.

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Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com