Category: post-punk

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Portland, OR-based indie rock quintet King Who, and as you may recall, the band, comprised of  Michael Young, Ryan Hayes, Ryan Cross, Glen Scheidt and Travis Girton will be releasing their Hutch Harris-produced sophomore full-length album Giant Eye through SELF Group on August 17, 2018. Reportedly, the album finds the band expanding upon their sound as they increasingly incorporate elements of New Wave, post-punk and dream pop  while retaining the heavy bass of their full-length debut Us Lights; in fact, Giant Eye‘s first single, the slow-burning “Ice Cream” sonically finds the band drawing from shoegaze and dream pop as the song is centered around shimmering guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring hook and Micheal Young’s plaintive falsetto, sounding though as it were recorded during the era of 120 Minutes-era alt rock.

Interestingly, Giant Eye‘s second and latest single, “Crying Shame” is centered around a motorik-like groove, four-on-the-floor drumming and Young’s plaintive falsetto, and as a result the song may arguably be the most New Wave-inspired song off the album, sounding as though it were drawing from Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the BunnymenEvil Heat-era Primal Scream and Luminous-era The Horrors, thanks to one of the funkiest rock bass lines I’ve heard this year.

 

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Currently comprised of founding duo Dennis Ponozzo (bass, vocals), a former member of Below the Sound and Scott Udee (guitar), with Gabe Johnson (drums), the Madison, WI-based post-punk/noise rock trio Sinking Suns initially formed in 2007 as a duo, and after a series of basement recordings, the band expanded into a full-fledged live band with the addition of Gabe Johnson, who joined the band in 2009. Since then, the band has released several highly touted albums and singles while touring across the Midwest, playing a sound that features a unique blend of post-punk, noise rock, surf rock and thrash punk.

Slated for a July 27, 2018 release through Reptilian Records, Sinking Suns’ soon-to-be released full-length album Bad Vibes will further cement the band’s reputation for a scuzzy and bruising sound, as you’ll hear on the album’s mosh pit friendly new single “Remember You Will Die”– but the album thematically and sonically is centered around deeply personal tales of struggle, survival and mourning; in fact, as the band’s Dennis Ponozzo explains, the song was inspired after he had been reminiscing about the last time he saw his brother, before his death. “I was looking at old photos of him and remembering when we drove to a local “ghost light” in Michigan one night called The Paulding Light. It was a warm summer night. Looking at the photos I thought to myself how he was clueless in the photos that his number would soon be up. I was clueless. We all were. It’s mainly a reminder of all of our mortality. ” As a result, the song is a urgent and plaintive howl into an unceasing and uncaring void.

 

New Video: Introducing the Murky Synth-based Post-Punk of Columbus,OH’s Child of Night

Child of Night is a rather mysterious Columbus, OH-based post-punk act and over the course of two EPs — last year’s Breathless EP and Neither of These Alone Is Enough, the members of the band have quickly developed a reputation for crafting murky, lo-fi synth based post punk that sounds as though it were inspired by Joy Division, Interpol, The Cure and others. 

What Remains, Child of Night’s forthcoming EP is slated for a late August release through Altarpiece Records and the EP’s latest single “Sirens” continues on a similar vein as their previously released material — murky, synth based post punk with decidedly goth leanings; however, there’s a subtle refinement of their sound, as there’s a focus on crafting a steady, dance floor friendly groove centered around a propulsive bass line, and four-on-the-floor drumming. It’s as though Antics-era Interpol somehow went a smidge disco and a smudge in the direction of John Carpenter soundtracks. 

The recently released video for “Sirens” fittingly looks as though it were filmed on grainy and completely fucked up VHS tape, which in some way evokes lingering ghosts and menacing presences just out of the frame. 

New Video: Montreal’s Scattered Clouds Releases Tense and Furious Animated Visuals for New Single

Comprised of Philippe Charbonneau, Jamie Kronick and Mike Dubue, the Montreal-based post punk trio Scattered Clouds have received attention for a dense and scuzzy sound reminiscent of JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers and Chain of Flowers among others — especially on their latest single, the fuzzy, tense and panic-filled “Justice,” which was inspired by the 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi at the hands of the Ottawa Police Department. The intent of the song is make listener to feel desperate, impotent and vulnerable — to remind them of their smallness within a cruel sociopolitical system that crushes people within its path.

Interestingly, the recently released video features animations from Montreal-based animator Joel Vaudreuil and it depicts the central antagonist (the police) as a fearsome, monstrous and violent figure, meant to symbolize how most marginalized communities fear those who claim are there to protect and serve them.

 

Deriving their name from a British English word that means to be an avant-gardist — one who emphasizes, practices and celebrates experimental and unorthodox methods and techniques and incorporates them into a craft, Avantist is a South Side, Chicago-based post-punk act, comprised of the Arias Brothers, Luis (drums), David (guitar), Erick (bass) and Fernando (vocals). And over the past decade, the sibling band members have dedicated their lives to making avant made music, centered around their shared personal philosophy that art is, should and must be progressive, dynamic and unconventional, and that creativity is something to incorporate in every single aspect of one’s life. 
The band’s soon-to-be released EP Terasaoma finds the band stepping out of their comfort zone by forcing themselves to write, record, mix and master the EP’s material within  month, instead of the two years it took for their debut effort; however, Terasoma will reportedly further cement the band’s reputation locally and regionally for raucous and infectious post punk while finding the band pushing their sound and songwriting in completely different directions — with the material running the gamut from angular and furious post-punk to more R&B-like.  Of course, the EP’s latest single is the thrashing and angular post-punk ripper “this_could_be_it,” which finds Fernando Arias alternating lyrics in Spanish and English. And in some way, the song should remind listeners that being proudly,  boldly and fearlessly of color — and of Latin descent in particular — in these dark and infuriating days may truly be punk as fuck.
The Chicago-based sibling quartet will be playing a bunch of shows to support their EP, including an EP release show at The Empty Bottle on June 20, 2018. Check out the tour dates below.
Tour Dates
6/20 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle (EP Release Show)
6/22 – Chicago, IL – PRF BBQ Fest @ Illuminated Brewery
6/23 – Alton, IL – Bottle & Barrel
6/24 – Tulsa, OK – Soundpony (w/ The Danner Party, Carlton Hesston)
6/25 – Austin, TX – Beerland (w/ The Boleys, Desilu, Black Basements)
6/26 – Spring, TX – The Blue Giraffe (w/ Brainstorm fir Tuesday, Kaleidescope Project, and Zzyzx)
6/28 – Birmingham, AL – Firehouse (w/ False Jasmine, Bible Belt, Mike Hombre)
6/29 – Nashville, TN – Betty’s Grill
6/30 – Louisville, KY – Lydia House (w/ Wax Astro, Legs Akimbo)
7/01 – Champaign, IL – Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (w/ Arboris, Parachute Day

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Preoccupations Return with Psychedelic-Tinged Visuals for Propulsive Album Single “Decompose”

Over the past handful of years of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about Canadian post-punk act and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations, and as you may recall the band which features Matt Flegel (bass, vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar), initially formed under the highly controversial name Viet Cong that managed to put the band in the middle of a furious and tumultuous debate centered around cultural appropriation and the usage of terms, names and symbols closely associated with historical groups and actions that evoke the horrors of despotism, fascism, genocide and so on. Ultimately, the band decided it was best to change their name before the release of their sophomore album, an effort that found each of the individual members of the band in rather unsteady and uncertain positions — at the time, each member relocated to different cities across North America, which made their long-established writing process of writing and testing material while on the road both extremely difficult, if not highly impractical.

Additionally, a couple of bandmembers were reeling from long-term relationships ending around the time that they were preparing to enter the studio — and unlike their previously recorded material, the band went into the writing sessions without having a central idea or theme to consider or help guide them along, essentially making the recording sessions a collective blind leap of faith. Eventually the album’s material wound up drawing from something specific and very familiar — the anxiety, despair and regret that causes sleepless nights.

Building upon a growing reputation for crafting dark and moody post-punk centered around themes of anxiety, uncertainty, creation, destruction and futility will be releasing their third album New Material was released earlier this year through Jagjaguwar Records, and the album, which was self-recorded and self-produced by the band is as the band’s Matt Flegel said in press notes, “an ode to depression. To depression and self-sabotage, and looking inward at yourself with extreme hatred.”  Much like their sophomore album, the band met without having much written or demoed beforehand — and according to the members of the band, it was arguably one of the most collaborative writing sessions they ever had as a band, with the sessions being extremely architectural in nature, with some ideas (proverbially speaking) being built up while others were torn down to the support beams.

Initially they didn’t know what the songs were about or where they were going with them, they had resolved to let the material show and not explicitly not tell; however, the writing and recording sessions reportedly led to a reckoning for the band’s Flegel. “Finishing ‘Espionage’ was when I realized. I looked at the rest of the lyrics and realized the magnitude of what was wrong,” says Flegel. In fact, the murky and angular  Manchester/Joy Division-like first single “Espionage,” while being among the most danceable songs they’ve written and released, focuses on a narrator, who has finally become aware of a disturbing penchant for self-sabotage in every aspect of his life. “Antidote,” New Material‘s second single was centered around propulsive, industrial clang and clatter based rhythm meant to convey a sweaty anxiety, while being about how people forget that we’re all talking, walking, shitting animals, who have an infinite amount of knowledge within their fingertips but still manage to repeatedly make the wrong choices. “Disarray,” the album’s third single was meditative and slow-burning single featuring shimmering guitar chords, an angular and propulsive bass line, organic drumming and boom bap-like drum machine work during the song’s bridge. And while superficially nodding at Turn On the Bright Lights-era Interpol, the song captures something much darker and uncertain — as it’s centered around someone, who from their perspective, views everything they’ve ever known to be a lie. As the band’s Flegal recalls, When I was writing ‘Disarray,’ it started off with an image of a mother combing her daughters hair that came into my mind, I liked the metaphor of splitting the braids and combing through the tangles, and wrote the rest of the lyrics around that image. This song sat untouched for close to 6 months as a recording with just bass and drums before we came back to it and wrote and recorded the guitar line while out of our minds one night in the early AM.”

New Material’s latest single “Decompose” continues in the angular and propulsive vein of its predecessors but centered around twinkling synths, buzzing guitars and an eerie melodicism that underlies the song’s danceable yet murky vibe. Interestingly, the release of the video comes as the band finished an eventful North American tour in which they were robbed twice, having all of their gear stolen. Luckily, they were able to finish the remaining dates of the tour borrowing instruments and gear from friends and openers. The North American leg of the tour ended with a positive note, as they were able to reach their fundraising goal to replace their gear — and in time for them to embark on the European leg of the tour. You can check out the tour dates below; but in the meantime, the video was directed by Evan Henderson and features live footage of the band performing at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern shot on film that had been boiled for two weeks in a salt water brine prior to filming — and while capturing the band performing, you’ll see explosions of geometric shapes and bright colors, which gives the video a subtly psychedelic vibe, while hinting at decomposition and decay. 

New Audio: Introducing the Angular Yet Melodic Post Punk of San Francisco’s Meant to Bend

Comprised of founding members Gaku Kelliher (bass, vocals) and Aamir Mauladad (guitar, vocals) and Nathan Driver (drums), the San Francisco indie rock trio Meant to Bend can trace its origins to when Kelliher spent several months recruiting Maluadad to start a band; of course, Kelliher was successful and the duo began writing riff-centric pop/rock tunes with shared vocal duties, inspired by Bowie, Pixies and Modest Mouse. The band’s founding duo recruited Driver, who they had both knew when all three were in San Diego. And as a trio, the band, as Kelliher says in press notes, “. . . is an attempt to make music that I wish existed. Aamir comes up with awesome riffs and I want to counter play off those ideas on bass. We want people to feel our music is catchy, but, at the same, time appreciate the musicality of it all.” The band’s Mauladad adds, “Our intention with this band is to deliver what our favorite music delivers – hook-laden pop tunes with underlying musicality and intricacy. I’m a huge fan of bands that have two distinct singers that trade off parts and are able to come back together and harmonize. Part of the fun of being in a three- piece is leveraging your limited resources to create dynamic interchanges and playing off two voices.” 

And as you’ll hear on “Closet Nihilist,” the latest single off the San Francisco-based trio’s recently released EP Minimum Frowny, the trio specializes in an angular hook-laden post-punk sound centered around an uncanny melodic sensibility, sneeringly delivered lyrics and some blistering guitar pyrotechnics.

New Video: Up-and-Coming Toronto-based Post-Punk act Releases Murky Visuals for Angular Album Single “Taking Pictures”

Currently comprised of Bria, Duncan, Lucas and Kris, the up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based post-punk quartet FRIGS have developed a reputation for a difficult to pigeonhole sound and approach that draws from the diverse array of influences each individual member brings  — and for a visceral live show that embraces the mercurial and experimental, as though built upon instinct and feel. 

The Canadian post-punk band’s self-produced full-length debut Basic Behavior was written and recorded over a 16-month period in two locations: the band’s home studio and Union Sound Company, and while lyrically the album is centered around Bria Salmena’s personal experience, the album is reportedly the product of several years of self-discovery as a unit. Naturally, recording at home allowed the band to take much-needed time to explore and experiment with sonic textures and production, and meticulously re-working their material. However, they felt that a degree of urgency was necessary to push them to finalize the album, and with engineer Ian Gomes, the band embraced the limitations of third-party studio time, which gave the sessions a sense of immediacy, and as a result, the album’s material is at points stark, chaotic, reflective and manic — often within a turn of a musical phrase. 

Basic Behavior’s latest single “Taking Pictures” features an arrangement based around propulsive drumming, slashing and angular bass and guitar chords, over which the band’s Salmena coos and howls throughout — while evoking a growing sense of disillusionment and fury without focusing on an actual narrative; in fact, it gives the song a primal and forceful urgency. As the band says of the recently released video for “Taking Pictures,” “We wanted a video that similarly eschewed narrative in order to portray this feeling through distorted perspective, overlapping subjects and a black-and-white pallet.  Adds the video’s director, Christopher Mills “The camera seems to be broken in a glitchy, 360 degree virtual space filled with multiple exposures of FRIGS, occasionally and inadvertently disrupted by glitchy abstract shapes in this dark and moody portraiture. For me, this song is like what Mazzy Star would play before a street fight. The toughness of this music evokes images of Ponyboy Curtis, with all of his friend running around the perimeter of town, looking for trouble. ”

New Video: Chicago’s Ganser Releases Mischievous and Surreal Visuals for “Satsuma”

Over the past couple of months I’ve written quite a bit about the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser,  and with the release of their debut EP, This Feels Like Living, the members of the Chicago-based act received attention locally for an art rock-leaning post-punk/noise rock sound influenced by Sonic Youth and Magazine.  Now, as you may recall, the band’s full-length debut Odd Talk is slated for release later this month through No Trend Records, and the album’s material reportedly focuses on communication breakdowns, with the song’s narrators desperately seeking meaning in confusion and messiness, as though they were literally sorting through syllables and signals to find the right words to say what they wanted or needed to say.

“Satsuma,” Odd Talk‘s last official single will further cement their reputation for material that thematically can be grimly absurd yet comedic that points at the complexities and frustrations of human relationships paired with angular guitar chords and propulsive drumming that help evoke a sweaty, heart racing anxiety: the sort in which your thoughts are racing and pinballing within your head; but the difference here is that the song focuses on a weary reservation, on avoiding expectations and their inevitable heartache, of not showing your hand when things are uncertain.

Filmed by the renowned photographer Kirsten Micolli and directed and edited by the band, the recently released video for “Satsuma” follow a woman Kate Ziebart as she wanders a post-blizzard Chicago, who’s compelled to dance through the streets. Throughout the course of the video, the woman’s movement varies between graceful and frantic but she turns the mundane and routine to something altogether strange; in fact, her weirdness seems to be infectious, and everyone she passes begins to start acting as weirdly as she is — although the woman is actually completely unaware of her effect on her surroundings or on anyone else. 

Filmed by the renowned photographer Kirsten Miccoli in a post-blizzard Chicago earlier this year and self-directed and edited by the band, the video follows a woman (Kate Ziebart) as she wanders the city, compelled to dance, as she encounters each member of the band in turn as she goes. After being in Chicago, the video not only strikes me as only being possible in Chicago, it manages to evoke the accusatory and sarcastic nature of the song in a mischievously indirect fashion.