Comprised of Nathan Lithow (vocals, synths, bass) and Garth Macaleavey (drums), the JOVM mainstay act NØMADS have a rather accomplished history both separately and together, and with the release of 2014’s full-length debut, the duo received attention across the blogosphere for a sound that drew and/or nodded at Nirvana, Fugazi and Girls Against Boys while also nodding at Zack de la Rocha’s post-Rage Against the Machine project, One Day As A Lion and Japandroids.
After a year-long hiatus from touring and writing, the Brooklyn-based duo spent 2016 writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their sophomore album PHØBIAC, a concept album in which each song focuses on a different phobia, approached in an abstract, almost clinical fashion. The result is that the material captures the innermost thoughts and anxieties of someone in the grips of crippling fear; but at its core, is a cautionary message for our heightened and uncertain times — that whenever we succumb to the irrationality of our fears, chaos and self-destruction will be the result. And throughout the course of the year, the duo have released material off PHØBIAC every month but recently, the duo have announced that they’ll be splitting the album into two separate albums — the organic instrumentation-driven PHØBIAC Part 1 and the synth-driven PHØBIAC part 2.
This month’s latest single “Phasmophøbia” features drummer Brian Wolf, who’s best known for his work with David Byrne, St. Vincent and the legendary Dap Kings, and focuses on the fear of the paranormal and of ghosts — both literal and figurative. Recorded live in Pittsburgh in the murky shadows of an abandoned Catholic school’s furnace room in one full take with no edits, “Phasmophøbia” consists of a fast and loose, improvised jam-like arrangement featuring swirling and twisting synth chords paired with boom-bap hip-hop-inspired drumming which evoke a sweaty, nauseating paranoia, — and that shouldn’t be surprising as the song focuses on an ex-lover, who perpetually haunts the street of the paranoid narrator’s daily world; and in fact, the song’s narrator recognizes that his past is sickeningly inescapable.