Comprised of Nathan Lithow (vocals, bass), known as a touring and recording bassist for My Brightest Diamond, Inlets, and Gabriel and the Hounds; and Garth Macaleavey (drums), a former Inlets touring percussionist and head sound engineer at Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s newest and intimate National Sawdust, the Brooklyn-based post-punk duo NØMADS incubated and forged a sound and songwriting process that owes a debt to Nirvana, Fugazi and Girls Against Boys — while subtly updating it in a way that reminds me of Zack De La Rocha’s post-Rage Against the Machine project, One Day As A Lion and Japandroids.
The duo received some attention with the release of their 2014 full-length debut, Free My Animal, an effort that reportedly drew from Death From Above 1979 and Queens of the Stone Age. After a year hiatus from touring and recording, the Brooklyn-based duo have re-emerged with new material off their newest effort, PHOBIAC, a conceptual collection of 12 songs, based on a different phobia — all approached in a very abstract, almost clinical fashion, capturing the inner thoughts of someone in the grips of their own fears. But just underneath the frantic, paranoid and irrational surface is a rather cautionary and rational message — that when we succumb to irrational fears, chaos will ultimately be the end of result. And with the current sociopolitical climate, the Brooklyn-based duo’s newest material is incredibly fitting and necessary, especially in light of the fact that there are large groups of people, who are currently ruled by their fears of “the other,” to the point of actually endangering everyone.
Each song off the album will be released every month over the next year, with the full album being released in 2018. The album’s latest single “Achluphobia” focuses on a fear of darkness, and throughout you can feel the narrator’s palpable and overwhelmingly primal dread and fear as darkness begins to envelope everything around him — and it’s further emphasized by angular and forceful bass chords, thundering and propulsive drumming and Lithgow’s growled vocals. But the subliminal message of the song is that fear turns something that’s perfectly natural and normal into something horrible and dangerous.