Featuring Tête‘s and Black Flamingo‘s Ammo Bankoff (vocals, bass), War Tapes‘ and Rituals’ Neil Popkin (guitar), Popkin’s War Tapes bandmate Matt Bennett (guitar) and Magic Wands‘ Pablo Amador (drums), the Los Angeles-based act Brass Box can trace their origins back to around 2006 when Bankoff booked Popkin’s first Los Angeles area show along with one of her earlier bands. And as the story goes, the duo frequently ran into each other at local galleries and warehouse shows, occasionally exchanging ideas; in fact, in press notes Popkin recalls being drawn to Bankoff’s early projects and artistic vision but the two were also frequently preoccupied by their own individual creative pursuits, making working together difficult for a number of years.
Interestingly, a chance encounter with Popkin inspired Bankoff to share some early demos and the duo quickly realized they were more creatively like-minded than they thought. They then recruited Bennett and Amador to complete the band’s lineup and to further flesh out the band’s sound.
The band’s first singles received praise from a number of renowned publications including Post-Punk, who described their sound as “. . . a surreal reverie [having] the sonic texture of crushed velvet imbued with the lingering scent of burnt incense and clove cigarettes circa October of 1993,” and LA Record who noted the band as “. . . dedicated to making the kind of music that should soundtrack a sand-dune-to-shoreline road movie by David Lynch.” Building upon a growing profile, the band will be releasing their full-length debut The Cathedral on April 5, 2019 through Dune Alter Records.
“Bats,” the moody new single off the band’s forthcoming debut is centered around a towering, wall of sound-like sound, featuring layers of feedback and distortion pedal-fed power chords, thundering and dramatic drumming and Bankoff’s ethereal and plaintive wailing — and while evoking the sensation of being lost at sea, during a massive storm and being tossed about by the waves, the track reminds me a bit of Heaven Up Here and Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen and Siouxsie and the Banshees, but with a cinematic flair.