Archive for the ‘Klozapin’ Category

Klozapin — Klozapin

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

2014 was a busy year for experimental shoegaze band Klozapin, who exploded out of relative obscurity in the underground scene of Oneonta, New York, from house shows and student bars into international acclaim. After signing with Brisbane label Conquest of Noise on the back of Bandcamp singles “Hivemind” and “%”, Klozapin are due to release their debut album. There’s a lot of buzz online about the band, which seems to come from their energetic live performances and their eclectic original sound: a trippy combination of post-punk, pop, shoegaze, and psychedelic rock, with surf rock, lo-fi, and noise influences.

From the first seconds of “Head”, the opening track on the album, you can tell the band has stumbled onto something special. A drifting solo gives way to a roll of heavy drumming as the band plays My Bloody Valentine-style fuzzy guitar noise to the tempo of a punk song. The lead guitar takes you on an unpredictable psychedelic adventure, with a series of surf-inspired repeating guitar riffs carving out a poppy melody from the walls of reverb-heavy noise. Rise builds on a ringing riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Interpol album, combining New York post-punk with slacker shoegaze to a messy 4/4 beat, while Hover Over takes the form of a controlled, psychedelic jam. By “Perception” and “Distortion”, the album settles into a depressive, honey-soaked grove that should be enjoyable to fans of post-punk shoegaze like French Films or Toronto’s Decades, but like these other bands, Klozapin never really sound like anybody other than themselves.

Klozapin are happy to exist between the margins, claiming not to be tied to any existing musical style or genre. I argue that they do have their place amongst a list of similarly inspired bands attempting to fuse traditional post-punk with related genres to create an original sound of their own, but the list is very short, very new, and doesn’t really have a name yet. It will be interesting to watch the band evolve as they continue to gain new fans and release stronger new material. Interviews with Klozapin offer some hints to the directions they intend to go, claiming they want to expand their shows to encompass psychedelic visuals, and that they are already working on a follow-up release.

No matter where they go from here, Klozapin’s debut is a strong, successful album. The tracks are short, lo-fi, and packed with interesting ideas: like a psychedelic version of Guided By Voices breakout hit Bee Thousand. They seem a lot longer than they actually are, fitting an amazing amount of movement into their mostly under 4-minute runtimes. It’s a headfuck of an album from start to finish, and a wonderland of tone and intertextuality. Anyone fond of shoegaze, post-punk, or modern psychedelic music will appreciate the album, as well fans of upbeat surf-rock hybrids like The Plastic Fangs, or similarly-inspired Conquest of Noise fuzz-rockers The Courtneys. They’re the best band of last year your friends have never heard of.

Klozapin is out now through Conquest of Noise.