Words by Tim Anderl
Tim Anderl is a Dayton, Ohio-based writer whose work has published in Alternative Press, Strength Skateboarding, Ghettoblaster, New Noise Magazine among other alternative weekly newspapers, magazines and online publications/blogs. He’s the former host of the Sound Check Chat podcast and runs a boutique PR firm, Sweet Cheetah Publicity. Growing up in the rich culture of the ’80s lead Tim to a life-long love of music, including post-punk, new wave, darkwave, goth, dream pop.
Another year, another wave of pandemic shitshow. While I’m sure there is a perfect sentiment to be rendered via a song from the Shadow-Plays universe to offer here, at 18 months in, all I continue to hear on repeat in my soft head is “18 And Life” by glam-metallers Skid Row. My apologies for putting that ear worm in your brains, but 18 months of COVID is so long, and it has really sucked, and this is where I’m at. That said, if our crime is time, at least I’ve used some of it to gather the latest news from the post-punk ecosystem and present it to you here…
NYC post-punk outfit Catcher announced that their forthcoming debut album, The Fat Of A Broken Heart, is due February 18. During 2021, their first year as a band, Catcher shared five singles and played countless sold-out shows across the city, in addition to going on their first headlining tour across the U.S. with fellow NYC rockers Been Stellar. Their most recent single, “Comparing Saviors and Friends,” ramps up with sludge-y bass and frenetic guitar chords, charging forward like an angry bull out the gate, accompanied by vocalist Austin Eichler’s deep-seated drawl. The single is regarded as one of the first tracks they’d written with the genesis of the band, and came alongside a self-made music video. Drawing early comparisons to Iceage and Protomartyr, these dudes are certainly ones to watch in 2022.
Brooklyn, New York’s Dead Leaf Echo, a band heavily influenced by the many 4AD acts brought into focus by John Fryer (Lush, NIN, Depeche Mode), release their new EP, Milk.Blue.Kisses.and Whalebone. Wishes on January 21 via Moon Sound Records. DLE’s frontman LG Galleon was on tour in March of 2020 with his band Clone when the pandemic hit and he retreated to his friends’, The Stargazer Lilies, compound in the Poconos where all the songs for Milk.Blue.Kisses.and Whalebone.Wishes began to formulate. Back in NYC, the band finished recording the rest of the EP while in lockdown from both home and their practice studio. James Aparacio (Spritualized, Depeche Mode) mixed the title track, while LG finished production on the remaining five tracks. Charles Nieland (Blondie, Franz Ferdinand) was brought in to master. The EP revolves around themes of anxiety and sex and never selling your worth for less than its true value. It is ambient and relaxed and a surely a suitable addition to your regular listening in 2022.
Deeper Graves, the solo venture of Jeff Wilson, formerly of Nachtmystium, Wolvhammer, Abigail Williams, finds him veering from the more metallic output most of his résumé offers. With this project he presents lush soundscapes and slow-paced rock movements that venture further into the realms of his post-punk, shoegaze, and alternative influences, with elements tracing to foundational acts Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Sisters of Mercy, Christian Death, and the like. The Colossal Sleep, which sees release via Disorder Recordings on January 28, delivers six new songs which further develop and expand upon the melodic and melancholic foundations built on Deeper Graves’ Open Roads debut. Wilson handles vocals, guitars, bass, synth/keys, programming, and all other instrumentation, as well as engineering, mixing, and mastering at the Disorder Recordings headquarters. Watch for tour dates to be posted in the months ahead.
London, UK band Omnibael recently announced their forthcoming debut full length on Cruel Nature Recordings. Over a very short period of time, they’ve racked up quite an impressive recorded output – notably a split album with Lip Critic – and a fair few live and virtually live outings, and every one has been different – to the extent that it sometimes sounds like a different act, and this is testament to their drive, their questing curiosity, and their sonic ambition, and they really do push the parameters of what a duo can do. Rain Soaks the Earth Where They Lie – their first long player proper – is a document of their development, but it’s also a testament to their desire to push, to innovate, and the fact that they’re musical magpies. Fans of Godflesh, peak-era Ministry, and Cop Shoot Cop are sure to find much to love here.
Brooklyn post-punk mainstays SAVAK have returned with “Cold Ocean” b/w “Adolescence Obsolete,” the latest in a string of ripping new singles. SAVAK is the two-headed beast of Sohrab Habibion and Michael Jaworski, with Matt Schulz on drums. Jaworski and Habibion have been sharing singing and songwriting duties since the band’s inception in 2015, both taking turns singing their songs while playing guitar and other various instruments. Jaworski takes his shot here penning and singing lead vocals on “Cold Ocean,” while the B-side to this digital A-side features Habibion in kind on “Adolescence Obsolete.”
Schedule 1 is a band that delivers contraband in four equal measures. Created in the Pacific Northwest by students of the Old World, the band offers post-punk mixed with influences of Oi, hardcore, and emo, that is cut with hard-hitting melodies, clarion declaration, and laced with bittersweet tears. The band, who started right before Covid, went on lockdown and somehow managed to record an incredible batch of songs without ever having the benefit of playing a show. Featuring members of Bishops Green, Dead Cells, Candy(BC) and Systematik, they release their debut 12″ on January 28 via Dirt Cult Records.
SRSQ, the vehicle of singer, musician Kennedy Ashlyn, has quickly become an essential generational talent, able to synthesize private struggles and sorrows into stirring, redemptive anthems. A singer and musician of elemental force, Ashlyn’s music consists of tumult and triumph, darkest night breaking into brightest dawn, where anguish blurs and becomes acceptance. Last week she released a new single, “Someday I Will Bask in the Sun,” which was produced by Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio) and is available via Dais Records across all digital platforms. “Someday I Will Bask in the Sun” is a look into what’s in store this year including her next full-length studio album due this spring.