Chicago-based post-punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Ganser 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 David Lynch, the duo developed a hands-on DIY craftsmanship that eventually carried over into the band. Each of the band’s members — Garofalo, Gaines, Brian Cundiff (drums) and Charlie Landsman (guitar) — sharing writing duties and collaborating on every aspect of their creative work, including music videos, album art and the visuals, which often accompany their live shows.
2018’s full-length debut Odd Talk received widespread praise nationally and across the blogosphere with some critics comparing their sound and approach to Sonic Youth and Magazine. Thematically, the album focused on communication breakdowns — namely, the difficulties of being understood, avoidance and intimacy
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.
Now, as you may recall the Chicago-based JOVM mainstays’ highly-anticipated sophomore album Just Look at That Sky is slated for a Friday release through Felte Records. Thematically, their sophomore album finds the quartet probing the futility of striving for self-growth during chaos — while evoking an all too familiar manic worry and generalized sense of dread and doom. The album acknowledges that we’re online all the time and inundated with too much information about other people and situations. We’re all a tweet, a status update, an Instagram post or a text exchange away from truly knowing what our followers, friends and loved ones really think about us. And in a larger sense, the world as we know it is dying before our eyes. We can watch the replays every night at 8, 10, 11 — in slow motion.
So far, I’ve written about two of Just Look at That Sky’s released singles — the tense and explosive album opener “Lucky.” and the atmospheric and brooding “Emergency Equipment and Exits.” The album’s latest single “Projector” is an uneasy song centered around propulsive drumming, angular blasts of guitar and bass paired with Garofalo delivering a psychological study of people desperately trying to hold on to anything when everything is so absolutely insane.
“It’s what happens when someone becomes so far removed from general society that their thoughts become a Dunning-Kruger Effect echo chamber of pseudo-wisdom and self-affirmations. Connection and perspective gets lost, but that echo becomes louder and often public,” Ganser’s Garofalo says of the song,
Directed by the members of the band, the recently released video for “Projector” stars the band’s Nadia Garofalo as a painfully awkward and intensely self-aware TED Talk-like speaker, giving a talk on “Pseudo Philosophies for Living in the Current Climate,” and the talk includes the prerequisite PowerPoint slides and video clips. But as the video pulls out at the end, we see that Garofalo’s TED talk speaker has been speaking in front of an empty room — the entire time.
“We shot this the day after SXSW was cancelled,” the members of Ganser recall in press notes. “We didn’t know what was coming, but we knew it wasn’t going to be good.”