Formed in 2016, the Brooklyn-based indie act No Swoon, currently comprised of Tasha Abbott (vocals, guitar) and Zack Nestel-Patt (synths) have received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that features elements of dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk and ethereal wave. And much like BLACKSTONE RNGRS, Lightfoils and others, the Brooklyn-based act have added their name to a growing list of acts that have actively pushed the sonic and aesthetic boundaries of shoegaze and dream pop.
Last year’s critically applauded EP 1 was written in Los Angeles during a self-imposed exile from the East Coast. For Abbott, a native of Ontario, CA, the idea was to get back to her geographic and musical roots with a great deal of time spent driving around the suburbs listening to the goth and new wave that her mom played in the car when Abbott was a little girl (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, New Order) and the indie rock and punk rock of her teenage years (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The White Stripes).
Slated for a November 1, 2019 release through Substitute Scene Records, the duo’s forthcoming, Jorge Elbrecht-produced, self-titled debut is reportedly an ambiguous and urgent affair that thematically touches upon the confusion, frustration and uncertainty of our zeitgeist. And as a result, the material is at times searingly critical, frustrated and despondent over everything from misogyny to global power imbalance and inequality with each of the song’s narrators seeking answers to questions that may never be resolved. Interestingly, the album also finds the duo collaborating with Robi Gonzalez, best known for his work with A Place to Bury Strangers and This Will Destroy You, contributing drums.
“Don’t Wake Up, Wake Up,” the self-titled album’s first single and opening track is a Joy Division-like take on shoegaze as its centered around layers of fuzzy and distorted power chords, a motorik-like chugging groove, an enormous arena rock-like hook. But at its core, Abbott expresses confusion, unease and frustration — and it feels uncomfortably familiar as it asks larger questions: has the world gone crazier or is it me? Is this real or is this some horrifying and unending nightmare?
Directed by Eleanor Petry, the recently released video for “Don’t Wake Up, Wake Up” follows two people (No Swoon’s Abbott and Nestel-Patt) wandering around the city — primarily, the gorgeous Municipal Building on Centre Street and the Hudson Yards 7 train station, seeking something and finding themselves lost, slipping between dreams and reality. “This song started from a dream of mine. Usually my dreams are very darkly lit or at night with muted colors, except there is always one or two objects that are highly saturated in a brighter color,” the band’s Tasha Abbott says of the song and its video treatment.