Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year, you’ve come across a small handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based post punk duo and JOVM mainstays NØMADS . Comprised of Nathan Lithow (vocals, bass), who has been 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 National Sawdust, the duo have received an increasing amount of attention across the blogosphere for a sound that draws from 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 hiatus from touring to support their 2014 full-length debut Free My Animal and from writing, the Brooklyn-based duo spent the better part of 2016 writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise their sophomore album, PHOBIAC, a concept album in which each song focuses on a different phobia, approached in an abstract, almost clinical fashion, while capturing the innermost thoughts, anxieties and fears of someone in the grips of their own deepest fear; but at the 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 end result.
Adding to the conceptual nature of the album, each song off the album will be released every month over the course of 2017 with the full-length album being slated for a 2018 release. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve written about a handful of singles PHØBIAC — “Achluphobia” focused 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. The following single “Acrophobia,” focused on a fear of heights and is a explosive instrumental composition that features a rapidly shifting meter paired with a propulsive bass line meant to evoke the sensation of peering over a high ledge of a bridge or some other surface, with the instinctual recognition that solid ground and mortal peril is just below you. And it was followed by “Axatophobia,” which focused on a fear of disorder and chaos. Featuring Lithgow playing an angular and distorted yet melodic bass line, Macaleavey’s forceful and dramatic drumming and paired with Lithgow’s urgent and pleading vocals, the song had the air of someone who’s life is thrown in disarray in an unexpected way.
PHØBIAC‘s latest single “Chronometrophobia” is a slow-burning and moody instrumental track, focusing on a fear of clocks, watches and time. Mixed by Michael Abuiso at Behind The Curtains Studio, the composition features buzzing and distorted bass chords, meant to evoke the grinding mechanisms of gears while the metronomic-like drumming manage to evoke the clicking of watch hands moving second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour. But just under the surface is creeping anxiety of time passing; of time’s relentless march forward, whether you’re here or not and being continually reminded of it everywhere you go.
As the band’s frontman explains in press notes “The fear of clocks is a very compelling to me as a soundscape metaphor. As a physical object, a clock not only “tells” time, but also represents the passing of time, and the concrete idea of the present tense. Chronometrophobia is tangentially connected to Chronophobia, the fear of time or of time’s passing, but as a compositional theme I think the clicks/ticks/tocks/beeps and bells provide a bit of a textual context to the song as a whole.”
The band is embarking on a series of dates, most of them local and it includes their ongoing Tuesday night residency at Piano’s. Check out tour dates.