New Audio: Preoccupations Returns with a Tense and Bitter New Single

Initially began under the name Viet Cong, the Calgary, Alberta-based quartet Preoccupations can trace their origins to an extremely complicated six degrees of musical and personal separation as the band is comprised of two childhood friends, Matt Flegel (bass, vocals) and Mike Wallace (bass), who also were once members of Women;  Scott Munro (guitar) and Flegel were once members of Chad VanGaalen’s backing band — and while on tour with VanGaalen they had frequently discussed collaborating on a project together; and lastly, Daniel Christiansen (guitar) had once played in a Black Sabbath cover band with Siegel, Wallace,  and other members of Women.

Throughout 2015, as the band was still named Viet Cong, the members of the band unwittingly found themselves in the midst of an ongoing conversation about cultural appropriate and questions about associating oneself with names that evoke the horrors of fascism, terrorism, brutality, war, etc.  And naturally, as a result of the surrounding controversy, the members of the band decided that a name change was absolutely necessary and after some reflection and consideration, they announced that they would now be known as Preoccupations. Interestingly, as the band mentioned in press notes, when they reconvened to write the material that would eventually comprise their self-titled effort as Preoccupations, they had found themselves in a rather unsteady and uncertain state. Years-long relationships had ended and the members of the band all relocated to different cities, which made their long-held creative process of using the experiences of the road to inspire their writing extremely difficult. And when the band entered the studio without a having a central idea to consider or to guide their writing process, each member of the Calgary-based quartet recognized that for this effort, they were all about to take a collective leap of faith in which they at least had each other — and in many ways the material on the album captures the band in profound transition and feeling their way out of it as best as they could.

Interestingly, as the band’s frontman Matt Flegel explained in press notes, the album’s material draws from very specific things — the sort of things that has most people up all night, fraught with anxiety and despair. The album’s first single “Anxiety,” is as Flegel explained about the the process of natural and forced change upon the band, while on another level, the song captures the uncertain and uneasy push and pull of human relationships, including the bitterness, regret, ambivalence, frustration and self-doubt they engender. Sonically, the song possesses a subtly atmospheric sheen while further cementing their reputation for crafting tense and angular post punk that draws from Joy Division and others.

The self-titled album’s second single “Degraded” pairs their tense and angular song with what may arguably be the possess the most straightforward and hook-friendly song structure they’ve written to date; however, the song lyrically reveals itself to be full of bilious accusation and recrimination, ill-feeling and seems to evoke a relationship slowly splintering at its core, complete with the realization that as a result the relationship will be irrevocably altered; but simultaneously being a plaintive and urgent plea for understanding, for forgiveness, for the dysfunctional train ride to just stop.  Sonically, the band employs synths to give their already tense material a subtle atmospheric feel much like “Anxiety;” however, the album’s latest single pushes that feeling of anxiety outward so that it becomes an enveloping fog.


The band is in the middle of a lengthy world tour, which includes a second New York area stop at Warsaw in October. Check out the tour dates below.

World Tour Dates

08.21.16 – White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX *

08.22.16 – Bomb Factory – Dallas, TX *

08.24.16 – Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX *

08.28.16 – FYF Fest – Los Angeles, CA

08.29.16 – Mountain Winery – Saratoga, CA *

08.30.16 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA *

09.01.16 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR *

09.02.16 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR *

09.28.16 – The Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC

10.01.16 – Mac Hall Ballroom – Calgary, AB ^

10.03.16 – WECC – Winnipeg, MB ^

10.04.16 – Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, Mn ^

10.05.16 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, Il ^

10.07.16 – Crofoot Ballroom – Pontiac, Mi ^

10.08.16 – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON ^

10.11.16   Virgin Mobile Corona Theater   Montreal, QC ^

10.12.16 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, Ma ^

10.14.16 – Warsaw – Brooklyn NY ^

10.15.16 – First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, Pa ^

10.16.16 – Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington DC ^

10.18.16 – Masquerade – Atlanta, Ga ^

10.19.16 – Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, La ^

10.21.16 – The Mohawk – Austin, Tx ^

10.25.16 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, Az ^

10.26.16 – The Irenic – San Diego, Ca ^

10.28.16 – The Roxy – Los Angeles, Ca ^

10.29.16 – The Independent – San Francisco, Ca

11.02.16 – Neumos – Seattle, Wa ^

11.05.15 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK

11.06.16 – Gorilla – Manchester, UK

11.07.16 – Oval Space – London, UK

11.08.16 – Exchange – Bristol, UK

11.09.16 – The Haunt – Brighton, UK

11.10.16 – Le Guess Who Festival – Utrecht, NL

11.12.16 – Botanique – Brussels, BE

11.14.16 – Pumpehuset – Copenhagen, DK

11.15.16 – Molotow – Hamburg, DE

11.18.16 – Musiques Volantes Festival – Metz, FR

11.21.16 – La Laiterie – Strasbourg, FR

11.22.16 – Klaus – Zurich, CH

11.23.16 – Magnolia – Milan, IT

11.24.16 – Quirinetta – Rome, IT

11.25.16 – Locomotiv –  Bologna, IT

11.26.16 – Suprette Festival – Neuchatel, CH

11.28.16 – Luxor – Cologne, DE

^ w/ Methyl Ethel

* w/ Explosions In The Sky