Archive for the ‘Post Punk’ Category

I think it was WFUV’s Russ Borris who first played Ibibio Sound Machine on the radio on my way to work, and I was instantly hooked.  Their fourth album, called Electricity, is an infectious mix of African percussion with electronic keys and horns for days.  It’s like Afrobeat dance punk, and it’s stunning.  Their latest album was produced by dance titans Hot Chip, who are beloved in New York and are basically cousins of hometown heroes LCD Soundsystem.  Everyone in this room would have these three on the same playlist, which made me a little irritated that Brooklyn Bowl wasn’t packed to the gills with heads the way I have seen this venue before.  This is the party.  Imagine missing this.  Nonetheless, there was a respectably sized crowd of eclectics, so I didn’t feel too bad. 

The show opened with a DJ set from Sinkane.  His music was a delicious mix of Afrobeats and funk/soul rhythms I hadn’t heard before.  I’m not usually keen on DJ sets in general because I don’t want to watch people standing behind their setups twiddling knobs and buttons – I watch Star Trek for that.  But Sinkane was actually engaging to watch.  He is as into the music he’s playing as anyone in the crowd would be, and he grooves like every minute of sound he twists and twiddles is an opportunity not to be wasted – a thought given extra weight by his ominous tee shirt that shouted “HEAVEN HELP US” in bold colors.  Dancing now is surviving Now.  The crowd swings smiles and arms around a loose floor.  One crowd-goer, I thought, was doing her whole Zumba routine.  Oh, to have that stamina.

Lights go dark, and the crowd turns forward expectantly as deep tones flood the floor.  Ibibio Sound Machine descend to the stage.  They are a gorgeous set of performers in colorful printed patterns and geometric embroidery.  Frontwoman and vocalist Eno Williams was a dream in marigold yellow, draped in layers of fabric from her powerful epaulettes, and belted, like the jumpsuit of an Afrofuturist super saiyan.  Medallions dangle from her crown of braided hair.  She is utterly, unbelievably, beautiful.  

They eased in with “Electricity,” a perfect opener that washes away the “big big English/big big grammar” of the world’s nonsense.  It grows in layers of percussion and synth and envelopes you in the song’s message of love.  That’s when guitarist Alfred Kari Bannerman pulls out an austere-looking Ghanain instrument called a “korego.”  It produces this pure plucking tone that sounds otherworldly in context of Hot Chip style synths and drums.  Bannerman chants with the korego, deepening its thick notes.  Every so often you go to a show and you see a moment of something so uniquely beautiful that you know you will remember it for a very long time.  

We are, like, 3 minutes into the show, and I’m already levitated on rhythm, bless.  

I was perched at the front of the stage beneath Afla Sackey’s drums – Sackey’s face is grinning through his concentration while his hands slap out the rhythms that make my hips twirl.  His hands are a blur during “17 18 19” and I am complete – this is the tune that first hooked me.  At one point Sackey takes the mic and shares how, when he plays, all of his problems disappear.  Yeah, when you play, mine do too, heh.

Eno addresses the crowd with love.  She reveals “Protection From Evil” was written as a ward against Corona before its wobbly electro tones begin the song’s incantation.  Ibibio is a gorgeous language I can only interpret through my hips.  The funk keeps coming.  “I Need You to Be Sweet Like Sugar (Nnge Nte Suka)” and “Afo Ken Doko Mien” give us slower grooves, and Eno gets to use a voice modulator and keys during the most gentle moment of the show.  “Wanna Come Down” and “Wanna See Your Face Again” show her love for the Brooklyn crowd.  At one point, DJ Sinkane and several of the more fabulous looking crowd members joined ISM on stage to smash some percussion.  A flautist named Domenica Fossati, from Brooklyn’s own Underground System, tore into a fiery flute solo while Williams danced in celebration.  

My poor injured feet and aching body.  At one point I held onto the stage’s barriers just so I could keep whipping my aging heft from side to side.  I had had two weeks of several low-key or just plain underwhelming shows, and Ibibio Sound Machine set me alight in the way I needed.  You know you love a band when you can’t stop listening to them, for days on days on days, after seeing them live.  I only wish some snafu hadn’t taken away our opportunity hear soulful anthem “All That You Want” as I was ready to croon along to it.  But it’s no matter, I’m sure the chance will come.  Maybe one day I’ll get to see them in their London home base.  In the mean time, Ibibio’s four albums of bonafide bangers will have to do.

Ibibio Sound Machine are Eno Williams, Afla Sackey, Alfred Bannerman, Winston Blissett, Joseph Amoako, Scott Baylis, Tony Hayden, and Max Grunhard.

Ibibio Sound Machine Instagram ★ Ibibio Sound Machine Bandcamp ★ Ibibio Sound Machine Website

Queens-based newcomers The Heart Attack-Acks have no right to sound as good as they do for a band who “didn’t have anything better to do.”  The duo Cody and Candace have been testing the waters with their own brand of discoey post-punk dance tracks.  Their beats are properly infectious party music with a snarky sense of humor.  Candice’s vocal has this nasal sneer, with all her vowels stretched and pulled by her Lawn-Guyland accent.  “Hit me with your love buuoooawmb” she says during their unbelievably tight track “Love Bomb,” and I’m in strum-a-dum-dum heaven.

One of their latest offerings is called “Love Me.” This tune has the flavor of Love and Rockets over Delta 5 bass, groovy and a little dark.  The lyrics are snarky camp telling of an Instachick stalking some man prey on the internet, and it makes me excited to see what they might make this character look like. In June, they put out their third track, a roller called “My Heart/My Mind,” and I am certain they could get a dance floor in motion. Let’s hope there’s a video or a show out there on the horizon so we can see how this plays on the eyes.  Their B-Movie type album art makes me think it’ll be lots of fun.

The Heart Attack-Acks BandcampThe Heart Attack-Acks Instagram

lol

I was doing some tourism in Oaxaca last February. Oaxaca is a punk town, painted in street art and radical graffiti. It’s not without reason – Oaxaca is a locus for economic and racial inequality in Mexico. Music and art posters are wet-glued to the same walls where spraypaint scrawls decry the harms of capitalism, femicide, and state violence. While I ate up the daytime’s offerings of street art, punk, and culture, I couldn’t get out to see much of the musical nightlife. Nonetheless, I snapped pics of these two posters of bands coming through town that would help me savor some of what Oaxacan music kids might listen to between making rad art and bucking the system. These two posters go back to a small party scene called the Gothic Oaxaca Underground, who seems to host all these dope little shows with bands mostly hailing from Mexico City. So I decided to dig into some flavors of the Mexican goth scene (bands only) and see what’s shaking en la discotheque.

Leonora Post-Punk

Leonora Post-Punk was touring behind the release of their new EP, Polvo. It’s very stripped down monotone goth descendent of Joy Division. It’s just enough for a stomp and a bob if you’re in that kind of mood. The EP’s sexy third track “El Contraluz” was recorded at Mexico City’s “Hipnotize Festival” in 2021. The fourth track of Polvo, “Torpe” grew on me most.

Leonora Post Punk BandcampLeonora Post Punk Instagram

Stockhaussen

Stockhaussen is the composer Angel Kauff, who composes dark electric music. I listened to their latest release, “Musica Electronica Oscura,” with some enthusiasm. It’s minimalist synth travels at fast pace, creating an energetic series of songs, but without too many vocals. “Let’s dance Tonight” probably pounds the floor into a sweat frenzy. Kauff does well to build atmospheric tension. Moments feel like twilight in the batcave – just the way I like it.

Stockhaussen BandcampStockhaussen Instagram

Werner Karloff

Werner Karloff’s Atemporal EP just came out in March. Even a passing knowledge of Werner Karloff’s two namesakes is enough to pin the tail on this artist. Danceable and darkly monotone, Karloff’s beats are just upbeat and accessible, and the vocals are nice in that German art-rock kind of way. Fifth track “Visitas” builds such good atmosphere and instantly sticks out to me.

Werner Karloff’s BandcampWerner Karloff’s Instagram

Schrödinger

Schrödinger keeps up the post punk tempos but is more a grandchild of Bauhaus than anyone else. Their debut, Last Days on Earth, is solid start to finish. “Visions” is a track that one could play for a goth fashion show, while “Murder” hits like an early Cure remix. To be fair, it’s because the vocals do sound faintly of a young and very distant Robert Smith. “Dying Sun,” the album’s tenth track, plays a lot more with guitar tones and is pretty gorgeous on its own, evoking lots of emotions, and should not be missed.

Schrödinger vis SwissDarkNights BandcampSchrödinger Instagram

P.R.E.Y.

P.R.E.Y. is a Oaxaca-based darkwave artist who makes some interesting and engaging keyboard choices on their self-titled Demo. It has an arty fashion flavor that has me seeing them play behind models stomping in black dresses. The vocals have a smooth chocolatey element that sticks out. “Knees Pain” is a standout track.

P.R.E.Y. BandcampP.R.E.Y. Instagram

Fledgling but upwardly mobile, Mexican goth is developing an interesting scene with new vamps who are adding some creative new entries to today’s worldwide Goth Revival. Spare some pennies for the up and comers via Bandcamp if you’re feeling sassy. But if what you’re looking for is some goth playlist clout, you’re sure to find some in the Mexican goth scene.

Social Order – “Never Again”

Posted: January 19, 2022 by Kat Meow in Edinburgh, Pop, Post Punk, Social Order

Members of The Mowgli’s, Metro Station, and Parade of Lights met and swirled during lockdown to combine their powers into anthemic synthpop. Their newest track, “Never Again,” tastes a little like The Escape Club marinated in delicious synthy goodness. The lyrics tell a tale of a busted up dramatic relationship that’s as fun as it is destructive – not that breaking the bed sounds like actual fun. Still, stuff like this is my Captain Crunch and I can eat the whole box.

Never Again by Social Order on Soundcloud

Social Order on Instagram

A big thanks to my buddy Soda for giving me the space to share some tunes with you!

Thumpasaurus greeted the world with their 2018 sensation “Mental Karate,” and now the rest of us will have to spend our lives scouring eBay for hard copies of their brash debut, Book of Thump. Now they’re back with their sophomore effort Thumpaverse, a flavor bomb of dance, punk, funk, and jazz that has Spotify addicted to their sound.

Thumpaverse’s twelve tracks are a journey.  The album opens with “Emotional Pain,” a building tidal wave of funk that hits the peak of falsetto tension before slamming you against the beat.  From there it’s like you’re listening to rest of the album through your hips. Try to stay still when songs like “I’m Pissed” and “Struttin’” cross your eardrums.  These tracks are guaranteed to get your body shakin’ at maximum wiggle and laughing at their ridiculous setups.  But this is not a one-note band – they bob and weave through musical genres with equal parts appreciation and irreverence. Vocalist/Guitarist Lucas Tamaren gives every song a whole different persona. There are no two songs on this album that sound alike, and yet they all THUMP.

These guys are eclectic and often swing in unpredictable directions.  Zeppelin reminiscent “Reaching” weaves delicate instrumentations and tense vocals through a journey until the song literally gives birth to itself. But they can also swing in the entire opposite direction and deliver something folky and sweet like “High School.” Somewhere behind the beat and humor is a kind of emotional self-awareness that can sneak up on you after a few listens, like in “Emotional Pain” or auditory hug “End of the Night.”

Thumpasaurus is a band that is at home in the cosmos (by way of Los Angeles).  But a real ride on the Space Barn can only happen when you see them live.  Fortunately, they recently recorded a live album, an exciting development we hope to see soon.

Buy Thumpaverse on Bandcamp

Thumpasaurus.com

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