Over the past month or so, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles, CA-based post-punk trio Second Still. And as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of its founding members Ryan Walker (guitar) and Alex Hartman (bass) along with Suki San (vocals) can actually trace their origins to when Walker and Hartman met in 2007 in Los Angeles. Four years later he duo had relocated to New York and at that point, they had recorded over 100 instrumental demos, which were largely inspired by French coldwave and No Wave. While in New York, Walker and Hartman spent a significant amount of time, searching high and low for a vocalist that they felt could match their intensity and creative output — and when they met Suki San, they felt an immediate simpatico.
The trio’s first show was a party at the now-condemned McKibbin Street Lofts that was famously shut down by the police during their set’s second song. And building upon the buzz of that incident, the band recorded their debut EP, Early Forms, which was released last March as a limited edition cassette that quickly sold out. Making the most of their time, while they were living in Brooklyn, the members of the band wrote and recorded the material, which would eventually comprise their soon-to-be released, self-titled, full-length debut — and the material on the album thematically covers deeply post-modern subjects: depression, frustration, anxiety and alienation.
Relocating back to Los Angeles, the band released two singles “Walls” and “Recover,” that revealed a decided sonic departure from their previously released EP; in fact, “Recover” finds the band nodding at 80s post-punk, in particular Sixousie and the Banshees as San’s gorgeous vocals, which to my ears bear an uncanny resemblance to Sixousie Sioux’s are paired with angular and shimmering guitar chords played through reverb and delay pedal, a propulsive bass line and stark, industrial-leaning drum programming. And as a result, the song simultaneously possesses a brooding chilliness and a motorik groove. “Strangers,” the second single off the band’s debut sonically continues on a similar vein, sounding as though it drew from Siousxie and the Banshees’ “Happy House” and “Israel” but with a clean, modern production sheen and a slashing and forceful guitar solo.
Although it may arguably be one of the shorter running singles on their album as it clocks in at a little over 2 minutes, “You Two So Alike” is one of the eeriest songs they’ve released to date, as it was inspired by “an article Suki read about Brittany Maynard, a woman who decided to commit suicide after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, a few years ago,” and by the End of Life Clinic in The Netherlands, as the band told Buzzbands LA. Sonically speaking, it continues the same mood and tone of the album’s previously released singles as the band pairs a sleek and chilly, motorik groove, propulsive, industrial-leaning drum programming and shimmering guitar work — and while clearly drawing from 80s post-punk, the material balances slick production with a raw and visceral emotionality.
Directed by the band and Alison Littrel, the recently released video manages to be reminiscent of early 80s music videos. Shot on grainy VHS-style tape, the video features the band playing and brooding in front of projection screens, which gives the video an appropriate murky and eerie vibe.