Category: post punk

Chicago-based indie act The Hecks formed back in 2012 as a duo featuring founding members Andy Mosiman (guitar, vocals) and Zach Herbert (drums, percussion). Their 2016 self-titled debut was recorded as a duo with guitarist and recording engineer Dave Vetteraino, and by the following year, Vetteraino joined the band as a full-time member.

The band’s forthcoming and long awaited, sophomore album My Star has taken three years to write and record. After recording an early version of the album in 2017, the band started playing live shows with Jeff Grauper (synths, keys). The members of the band found that Graupner’s synth playing added some welcomed heft and swagger to their new material. After reworking and re-arranging much of that material to accommodate their new fourth member, the band decided that it would be scrap the early recordings, eventually rebuilding them to further incorporate Graupner’s skills. And as a result, My Star is reportedly a decided leap forward sonically for the band, as the album’s material draws from Manscape-era Wire, Paisley Park nu-funk, and abstract new wave and art rock.

“So 4 Real,” My Star‘s latest single is a jagged bit of post-punk, centered around a sinuous yet motorik-like groove, squiggling blasts of synths and Mosiman’s plaintive vocals — and while nodding at XTC (“Mayor of Simpleton” specifically comes to mind) and Amoral-era Violens, the track is essentially a swooning and soulful love song that sounds as though it should be the part of the soundtrack of a quirky, 80s rom-com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Essi is a Brooklyn-based post-punk/industrial duo, comprised of Jessica Ackerley and Rick Daniel. Interestingly enough because both Ackerley and Daniel have backgrounds in noise rock, jazz improvisation and in experimental bands like Gold Dime and Yvette, the duo have a long-held proclivity for unorthodox songwriting and song structures — and for crafting a enormous and layered sound that belies intricate details and painstaking composition choices.

The duo’s forthcoming  Jonathan “Jonny” Schenke-produced album Vital Creatures reportedly finds the duo skirting the edges of genre and genre boundaries while retaining the enormous sound that has been their trademark — all while displaying a deft and appropriate mix of guitar pedals and effects, percussive electronics and vocal distortion. Vital Creatures‘ latest single “Pines and Cones” features rumbling bass, slashing guitar chords, propulsive drumming and peals of feedback within an expansive song structure that finds the band employing elements of prog rock, shoegaze, post-punk, post-rock simultaneously.

 

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True Moon is a Malmo, Sweden-based post-punk/dark wave quartet, comprised of founding members Karolina Engdahl (vocals, bass) and Tommy Tift (guitar) — both of whom are former members of Swedish Grammy-winning act Vånna Inget, along with Linus Segerstedt (guitar) and Fredrik Orevad (drums). The Malmo, Sweden-based quartet can trace their origins to when its founding duo of Engdahl and Tift felt a desire to create something more raw and visceral than the material they were working on with their then-primary gig. “Karolina and I are bored with the Swedish music scene at the moment,” Tift explained at the time. “It feels like everyone has the same blueprint, like there’s an industry rulebook now for how bands must sound. We wanted to do something different.” Vånna Inget’s 2013 full-length effort Ingen Botten found the band sonically exploring New Wave and dark wave, and as Tift went on to say they felt a need to explore it more themselves.  “It was like an urge and we just had to do this,” True Moon’s Engdahl adds.

“We were listening to artists such as Joy Division, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and early Cure. There is a purity and honesty and integrity to that music that’s missing from the current scene,” the band’s Tift said back in 2017. “Those bands weren’t making music to be pop stars or rock stars, it is pure expression and pure art, and that’s the aesthetic we were pursuing.” Segerstedt and Orevad were recruited to complete the band’s lineup, and they began working on their 2016 self-titled debut, an effort that received attention across Scandinavia and elsewhere for crafting material that actively went for the sort of raw, urgent and unpolished feel and sound reminiscent of Martin Hannet‘s work with Joy Division.

As a result of attention they received from their self-titled debut, the Malmo-based post-punk act played shows across Sweden, the UK and the States, opening for Killing Joke, King Dude, MCC, Against Me! and a number of others. Building upon a growing national and international profile, True Moon’s highly-anticipated sophomore album II is slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Lövely Records —  and the album finds the band continuing their ongoing collaboration with with producer Jari Haapalainen, who also contributes guitar to the proceedings. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Poison” continues the raw and urgent aesthetic and feel of their full-length debut — and while clearly being indebted to Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others, the track reveals some ambitious songwriting, as it possesses an enormous, arena rock-like quality.

 

 

 

 

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Live Footage: Influential Post Punk Act Returns with a Reworked and Remixed Version of a Live Favorite

Minimal Compact, comprised of Berry Sakharof (guitar, keys, vocals), Malka Spiegel (bass, keys, vocals), Samy Birnbach, a.k.a. DJ Morpheus (vocals), Rami Fortis (guitar, vocals) and Max Franken (drums), initially formed in Amsterdam back in 1980. The band were part of the original post-punk explosion — and interestingly enough, they have long been considered one of the genre’s most unique. The members of Minimal Compact developed a sound centered around propulsive rhythms, spacious bass lines, lush keys, mesmerizing guitar lines and vocal melodies with a Middle Eastern inflection through the release of a couple of ground-breaking and influential albums, including 1984’s Deadly Weapons, which featured the club hit “Next One Is Real” and their most commercially successful album, 1985’s Raging Souls. 

In their short time together, the members of Minimal Compact toured around the world, from Poland to Japan, gaining a reputation for energetic, unpredictable and intense live shows. However, their studio recordings seldom captured their live sound and energy. The band broke up in 1988 with each of its individual members continuing onwards with a variety of creative projects including releasing solo efforts, hosting radio shows, having  art exhibitions, collaborating with a number of artists, DJ’ing, running record labels, hosting TV shows and the like. But during the next 20 years, their influence began to grow exponentially. In fact, by the time the band reunited for a handful of shows in 2004, they had begun to be recognized as influential originators. Since 2004, the members of the band have reunited for live shows just a handful of times — but each and every time, the individual members of the band recognize an undeniable magical quality between them. 

Recently, the members of Minimal Compact reconvened and went into the studio with their longtime producer and collaborator Colin Newman to finally capture their live sound with several of their signature songs being re-recorded using a mix of live recordings and studio-tooled performances — with the end result being the band’s forthcoming album Creation is Perfect. 

Slated for an October 25, 2019 release through the band’s own Minimal Compact label, the album will reportedly be a timely reminder of how essential and forward-thinking the band has been — and still is. Interestingly, Creation is Perfect’s first single is a reworked version of a live favorite, “Statik Dancin,” that captures the feel of their live set while retains the original’s spastic and fidgeting energy, angular hooks and dance floor friendly groove. But the new version also features a slick, studio polish reminiscent of Gang of Four’s Return the Gift. 

“We still play “Statik Dancin’” like we always did: driving, minimal, a bit moronic but still catchy,” the band’s Malka Spiegel says in press notes. “This version has a combination of the energy of the live version plus a fresh sounding production”.

 

Currently featuring founding members Cynthia Sley (vocals), Pat Place (guitar) and Dee Pop (drums) along with newest recruit Val Opielski, the New York-based act Bush Tetras can trace their origins back to when Sley, Place, Pop and Laura Kennedy (bass) formed the band back in 1979.  Interestingly, their full-length debut Too Many Creeps was considered one of their scene’s defining moments as it accurately captured the vibe, feel and ethos of that scene’s particular moment.

Building upon a growing profile, the members of Bush Tetras were an opening act during The Clash’s legendary, spring 1981 17 show run at Bond International Casino. After the release of their Topper Headon-produced Rituals EP, which featured the chart-placing “Can’t Be Funky,” Laura Kennedy and Dee Pop left the band and were replaced by Bob Albertson (bass) and Don Christensen (drums); however, the band broke up.

For the better part of the next three decades, the members of the band were fairly elusive, although interestingly enough, the band’s original lineup reunited on a couple of occasions — in 1995, which resulted in 1997’s Beauty Lies and recording sessions the following year, which resulted in a Don Fleming-produced album that was shelved when Mercury Records was sold. That album was finally released in 2012.

In 2005, Julia Murphy replaced Kennedy and they resumed playing and touring across New York. The band toured across Europe the following year. Sadly, Laura Kennedy died in 2011 after a long battle with liver disease. In 2013, Cindy Rickmond, a former member of Cheap Perfume, Grayson Hugh, Church of Betty and Unknown Gender briefly replaced Murphy. And in 2016, Val Opielski, a former member of Krakatoa, Walking Hellos, PSXO and 1000 Yard Stare joined the band.

Last year saw the release of Take The Fall EP through Wharf Cat Records, the first batch of new music from the band in over 10 years. Over the winter, Third Man Records cleared their Cass Corridor showroom floor, invited the band down to Detroit — and enlisted the help of Third Man Mastering’s Bill Skibbe and Warren Defever to record their recently released “There is a Hum”/”Seven Years” 7 inch. A side single “There is a Hum” is a slashing bit of post punk, reminiscent of Entertainment-era Gang of Four and Sonic Youth — but seething with a neurotic anxiousness. B side single “Seven Years” manages to be a mischievously anachronistic track that sounds as though it could have been released at any point within the past 30 years. The glitchy and spastic track features some blistering and energetic guitar work centered around cowbell-led percussion and a sinuous bass line. Both tracks find the legendary post punk/No Wave act boldly reminding the listener that although it’s been a while, they play with a fury, passion and purpose that many younger acts lack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ganser Return with a Surreal and Symbolic Visual for Their First Single of 2019

Formed back in 2014, the Chicago, IL-based post-punk act Ganser — comprised of founding members Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) and Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) with Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — have received attention both locally and nationally for a sound that was largely influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with lyrics, which served as incisive critiques on larger social issues. And as you may recall, the act’s critically applauded full-length debut Odd Talk focused on communication breakdowns with the material featuring narrators desperately seeking meaning in hopeless confusion and messiness. At points, narrators seem to be literally sorting through layers of syllables and signals in an attempt to find the right words to say what they wanted — or needed to say. 

The members of Ganser have been in the studio recording new material over the past few months while working on their second album. Their first single of this year, “Bad Form” is a furious song that seethes with anxiety,  self-loathing and self-flagellation that further cements the tense, angular sound that first caught my attention. While the song is a cathartic reaction to a year-long writing period, it finds the band increasingly adapting to a collaborative writing process. “When you’re in the middle of writing and recording, it’s very easy to fall into extreme feelings of guilt over procrastination, when you’re already stretched thin,” the band’s Alicia Gaines explains in press notes. “It’s nice to operate as a team, and act as a unit that can take the burden of some really ugly inner talk.” 

Co-directed by Kirsten Miccoli and Ganser, the recently released video features blinding light that paralyzes the band’s members, rapid-fire cuts, surreal vignettes that communicate the wishful thinking (and desire) of being someone else, a disorientating array of dopplegangers and lookalikes. The video suggests that the creative process as being a frustrating and soul crushing series of doubt, anxiety, uncertainty and procrastination and ugly self-talk. 

 

I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays Russian Baths over the past couple of years, and as you may recall the act — Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner — received attention both locally and elsewhere for a sound that has been described by the band and by some critics as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk. Although with the release of their debut EP Penance, an effort that featured singes like “What’s In Your Basement,” “Slenderman” and “Poolhouse,” the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays — to my ears, at least —  established a reputation for crafting a brooding 120 Minutes-era alt rock-like sound.

Slated for release later this year, Russian Baths’ forthcoming debut finds them pushing their sound — a sound centered around juxtapositions to its most extreme, as feedback and dissonance manage to swallow softly whispered harmonies; arpeggiated synths and booming 808s are paired with angular, shrieking guitars and propulsive drumming. Thematically the material touches upon personal regret, cultural guilt, reflections and observations on systems on the verge of collapse and a growing sense of unease and anxiety. The album’s first single “Parasite” was a decidedly muscular and grunge-like single that brought Nirvana, The Breeders and others to mind — but while evoking someone on the verge of destroying themselves.

“Tracks,” the forthcoming album’s latest single is an an aggressively abrasive song that’s one part shoegaze, one part post-punk, one part noise rock and one part grunge, as fuzzy and distorted power chords are paired with thunderous drumming and plaintive, falsetto vocals. And while being one of the most feral and mosh pit friendly songs they’ve released in their growing catalog, the song finds the band asking some important questions. “If a friend takes something very personal, very private from you, do you forgive them? If you see someone’s worst self, how do you react? Would you choose yourself to be yourself? Is self respect something you feel because you’re good or does self-respect make you good?” The band says in press notes. As a result, the song possesses the uneasy, claustrophobic air of paranoia and distrust.

 

 

 

New Audio: Up-and-Coming British Post-Punk Act Squid Releases an Explosive and Expansive New Single

With the release of a series of critically applauded singles, an incendiary live show, and three packed Glastonbury Festival sets, the up-and-coming disco post-punk, disco funk act Squid — Ollie Judge (vocals, drums), Lous Borlase (guitar, vocals), Arthur Leadbetter (keys, strings), Laurie Nankivell (bass, drums) and Anton Pearson (guitar, vocals) — have quickly developed a growing national profile. 

Building upon that momentum, the act which splits its time between Brighton, where it initially formed and London will be releasing the Dan Carey-produced EP Town Centre through Carey’s Speedy Wunderground Records digitally on September 6, 2019 — with a physical release on November 15, 2019. Clocking in at seven and a half minutes, the EP’s  new single “The Cleaner” will likely remind listeners of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo-era Devo, Talking Heads, Entertainment!-era Gang of Four and LCD Soundystem  as the track is centered around a slinky, disco funk bass line, explosive blasts of squiggly synths, cowbell led drumming, angular guitar lines, explosive feedback and shouted lyrics within an expansive song structure that’s one part post-punk, one part art punk, one part No Wave freak out. And as a result, the song manages to evoke the uncontrolled, neurotic frustration of someone who’s at the end of their rope. 

“‘The Cleaner’ is a lost acquaintance, one that we’ve spent the past year trying to get to know . . . tirelessly working and turning up whenever needed,” the band says about their latest single. “We work for the money to spend out time doing other things. ‘The Cleaner’ imagines the divided work and play structure and thinks about breaking from it.” 

New Video: Stockholm’s Birthday Girl Releases a Brooding Visual for “I Came to Eat”

Comprised of Merseyside, UK-born twin siblings Martin Baxter (drums) and Fran Baxter (vocals, guitar) along with Lincoln,UK-born James Corden (bass), the up-and-coming Stockholm, Sweden-based indie rock act Birthday Girl can trace its origins back to 2016 when its founding trio relocated to Stockholm. At the time the trio were living in a single room with one folding down bed and were DJ’ing for pocket change when they started the band. Swedish-born and-based Joakim Sandegård joined the band shortly after and the members of the newly constituted quartet began focusing on creating music that combined raw aggression and noise with gentle melodies and harmonies. 

The up-and-coming Stockholm-based band released their debut single “Welcome Home Frank Bastard” through British label Hide and Seek Records in 2017 — and the song, which is about a lonely man, who takes his frustrations out on his pet cat eventually caught the attention of Iggy Pop, who featured the song on his BBC6 Radio show. And as a result of the growing buzz surrounding the band, they started playing shows around the Stockholm area. 

After DJ’ing at a local bar, the members of the and found a lost credit card, which happened to belong to Glasvegas’ lead vocalist James Allan, and upon returning his credit card, they struck up a friendship, which lead to Allan inviting Birthday Girl to open for his band during their 2018 UK tour. Following their UK tour, the members of Birthday Girl opened for The Underground Youth during their Swedish tour before heading to the studio last winter to start working on their full-length debut. In the meantime, the up-and-coming Swedish band’s latest single “I Came Here to Eat” is a mid-tempo track centered around a chugging bass line, atmospheric, swirling blasts of feedback-driven guitar, Fran Baxter’s plaintive falsetto and a soaring hook. And while the song finds the band meshing 90s alt rock — thanks to an alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure — and 80s post-punk, the track possesses a murky and menacing air. Interestingly, the band’s Francis Baxter wrote the song about the feeling of “wanting to completely devour someone to the point of cannibalism.” 

Directed by Sebastian Paez, the recently released video was filmed at Stockholm’s Scalateatern and while emphasizing shadow and dim lighting, the video focuses on the act of performance — both as something incredibly phony and artificial and as an interpretation of human behavior and character.