I’ve managed to write quite a bit about the Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser over the past couple of years — and as you may recall, the act can trace its origins back to when its founding members Nadia Garofalo (keys, vocals) and Alicia Gaines (bass, vocals) met while attending art school. Bonding over a mutual love of The Residents, outsider communities and the work of John Waters and and David Lynch, t he duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried over into their band — with the band’s members, which also features Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) sharing writing duties and closely collaborating one all of their music videos and album art, as well as crafting visuals to accompany their live show.
With the release of 2018’s full-length debut, Odd Talk, the Chicago-based post-punk outfit developed a national profile with the album receiving widespread praise for sound that some critics have compared favorable to Sonic Youth and Magazine paired with incisive lyrics critiquing larger social issues. Odd Talk thematically focused on communication breakdowns, the difficult of being understood, intimacy and avoidance.
Building upon a growing profile, Ganser’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Just Look at That Sky is slated for a July 31, 2020 release through Felte Records. Thematically, the album finds the band probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chaos. The songs evoke an all too familiar maniac worry and dread and a generalized and overwhelming sense of doom with a sardonic specificity. The world as we know it is breathing its last gasps and we haven’t a clue as to what will be beyond this. The songs also acknowledge that we’re online all the time and that any given moment we’re inundated with too much information about other people and other situations. We’re all generally a tweet, a status update or an Instagram post away from truly knowing what our followers and others really think about us. Shrug and laugh — even if it’s completely mirthless. And then admit that you’re emotionally and mentally drained.
Earlier this year, I wrote about Just Look at That Sky’s first single, the tense and explosive album opening track “Lucky.” One part, Midwest noise-rock, one part post punk and one part art rock centered around rumbling low end, discordant blasts of angular guitar, thunderous drumming and Garofalo’s desperate howling, “Lucky” may arguably be the most urgent and uneasy songs they’ve released to date. Interestingly, “Emergency Equipment and Exits” may arguably be the most atmospheric and brooding song they’ve released, as its centered around incessant and breakneck, four-on-the-floor, atmospheric synths, explosive blasts of angular and distorted guitars, a gorgeously plaintive melody and an enormous hook.
Directed by the band’s Alicia Gaines, the recently released video follows Gaines as she just gives up and walks as far away she could from it all. We see Gaines as she walks out of Chicago and to the country — with her thoughts as company.While the video explores the possibility of finding greater clarity beyond our immediate reality — it also asks the viewer: What if you gave into that urge to walk away? What would happen? “Sometimes everything gets too close, even when things are good, and you get this screaming desire to run away,” the band’s Alicia Gaines. “The song and video are both about feeling estranged from reality and choosing nothing over too much– the floor drops out, and you only have yourself to deal with.”
“It was very strange to be focused on not only the video direction, but also safety precautions during this time.”