Throughout the bulk of this site’s history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn-based JOVM post-punk mainstays NØMADS. And as you’d recall, the act which is primarily comprised of Nathan Lithow (vocals, synths, bass) and Garth Macaleavey (drums) spent the better part of last year writing and recording the material that would eventually comprise PHØBIAC, a concept album in which each song focuses on a different phobia, approached in an abstract, almost clinical fashion. Naturally, the material captures and evokes the innermost thoughts and anxieties of someone in the grips of a deeply 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.
Throughout the course of 2017, the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays have released a new single from the album every month, adding the band to a growing list of artists, who have experimented with how an album is packaged, arranged, marketed, publicized and sold in the blogosphere age. Interestingly enough, during the summer, the duo announced that they’d be splitting the full-length album into two separate EPs — the organic, punk rock-like PHØBIAC Part 1, which features Lithow collaborating with his bandmate Macaleavy and the synth-driven, prog rock-like PHØBIAC Part 2, which features Lithow collaborating with acclaimed drummer Brian Wolf, who has worked with David Byrne, St. Vincent and the legendary Dap Kings.
“Xenophøbia,” the jagged and tense, Entertainment!-era Gang of Four/Pink Flag-era Wire-like new single from NØMADS focuses on an all-too familiar fear that has dominated the news and the attention of the world — xenophobia, the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners, as well as anything that is considered strange or foreign. Featuring the band’s original duo of Lithow and Macaleavy, the single’s lyrical perspective is that of an aging, tyrannical dictator, pounding his fists behind a podium and riling the fears and hatreds of a fervent, frothing mob while being a meditation on what it means to be an outsider — whether racially, religiously or culturally — in the internet age. But along with that, the song points at the chilling and increasingly fascistic turn our culture and government have taken since Trump has taken office, suggesting that we should be fearful of what could happen next and resist with every fiber of our beings.