Preoccupations, support: Joyfultalk - Bi Nuu, Berlin

Preoccupations, support: Joyfultalk - Bi Nuu, Berlin Folder

(Wednesday) November 16, 2016 - 19:00

Bi Nuu - Im Schlesischen Tor (Map)

152 people attended

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präsentiert von Visions und ByteFM.

PREOCCUPATIONS. Das sind Bassist und Frontmann Matt Flegel, Gitarrist Danny Christiansen, Multi-Instrumentalist Scott Munro und Drummer Mike Wallace, aus Calgary in Kanada. Mitte April 2016 gaben die vier bekannt, dass sie ab jetzt nicht mehr VIET CONG heißen, nachdem ihnen aufgrund des kontroversen Bandnamens vor allem in Nordamerika mächtig der Wind entgegen blies, incl. Konzertabsagen.

In dieser schwierigen Situation nahm die Band ihr neues Album auf. Das selbstbetitelte Preoccupations erscheint am 19. September 2016 auf Jagjaguwar/Cargo und ist ein kleines Meisterwerk geworden, randvoll gefüllt mit dunklen Hooks und abgründigen Arrangements. Als blast of cold air in a bruning hot place bezeichnen sie selbst die klimatischen Interferenzen, unter denen das Album entstanden ist, doch vermittelt dies nur eine ungefähre Idee der inherenten Spannung und latenten Verzweiflung, die Preoccupations zu Grunde liegt. Sagen wir also mal so: Preoccupations ist eines der Post-Punk-Masterpieces 2016 und die Preoccupations wohl eine der besten Bands, um solch ein Meisterwerk (auch außerhalb des Studios) angemessen umzusetzen. Wie sie auch erst unlängst bei einem ausverkauften Konzert in Berlin unter Beweis stellten.


When the four members of Preoccupations wrote and recorded their new record, they were in a state of near total instability. Years-long relationships ended; they left homes behind. Frontman Matt Flegel, guitarist Danny Christiansen, multi-instrumentalist Scott Munro and drummer Mike Wallace all moved to different cities. They resolved to change their band name, but hadn't settled on a new one. And their road-tested, honed approach to songwriting was basically thrown out the window. This time, they walked into the studio with the gas gauge near empty, buoyed by one another while the rest of their lives were virtually unrecognizable and rootless. There was no central theme or idea to guide the band's collective cliff jump. As a result, 'Preoccupations' bears the visceral, personal sound of holding onto some steadiness in the midst of changing everything.

Flegel is quick to point out how little mystery is in the titles of these songs: Anxiety, Monotony, Degraded, Stimulation, Fever. Monotony is a dead end job; Anxiety is changing as a band, he says. Memory is watching someone lose their mind; Fever is comforting someone. It's all drawing from very specific things. These things - bigger ones like breakups, smaller ones like simply trying to calm someone down - are ultimately the things that explode our brains, that keep us up at night. And so where their previous album 'Viet Cong' was built in some ways on the abstract cycles of creation and destruction, 'Preoccupations' explores how that sometimes-suffocating, sometimes-revelatory trap affects our lives. We discarded a lot, reworking songs pretty ruthlessly, Munro explains. We ripped songs down to the studs, taking one piece we liked and building something new around it. It was pretty cannibalistic, I guess. Existing songs were killed and used to make new ones. Sonically, it's still blistering. But it's a different kind of blister, less the the scorched earth of the band's previous LP, more like a blood blister on a fingertip: something immediate and physical that you push and stare at. It's yours.

Opener Anxiety articulates that tension: clattering sounds drift into focus, bouncing and echoing off one another until one bone-shattering moment when the full band strikes at once, moving from something untouchable to get to something deeply felt. Monotony moves at a narcoleptic pace by Preoccupations' standards, but snaps to attention to make its point, that this repetition's killing you // it's killing everyone. Stimulation opens with a snarl and hurls itself forward at what feels like a million bpm, pausing for one mortal moment of relief before barreling onward. Degraded surprises, with something like a traditional structure and an almost pop-leaning melody to its chorus, twisting the bigness of Preoccupations' music to sideswipe the clear, finite smallness of its subjects and events. And the 11-minute-long Memory is the album's keystone, with an intimate narrative and a truly timeless post-punk center. There's love piercing through the iciness here, fighting its way forward in each of the song's distinct sections.

As always, there is something crystalline to what they've made, a blast of cold air in a burning hot place. All this adds up to Preoccupations: a singular, bracing collection that proves what's punishing can also be soothing, everything can change without disrupting your compass. Your best year can be your worst year at the same time. Whatever sends you flying can also help you land.

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(Wednesday) November 16, 2016

Preoccupations, support: Joyfultalk - Bi Nuu, Berlin

Bi Nuu Im Schlesischen Tor Berlin, Germany

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