Release Date: Aug 6, 2013
Record label: Sacred Bones
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Noise-Rock
In his excellent piece on Yeezus, which attempts to situate Kanye’s latest against the backdrop of contemporary noise, Ad Hoc’s Mike Sugarman observes that “Violence is perhaps power’s most direct form of action, and assuming the language of power is often the best way to reveal its horror.” Horror is clearly a concept near and dear to the hearts of Brooklyn’s Pop. 1280, so much so that it served as the title of their full-length debut from last year. We shouldn’t be surprised, therefore, that Imps of Perversion finds vocalist Chris Bug leaning heavily upon the “language of power” as a means of generating such horror.
Pop. 1280 specialize in noisy depravity with jagged grooves and a generally ugly aesthetic. The band roared into the hearts of indie rock fans with the sonic kick in the stomach that was their debut , 2011’s The Horror. Based in Brooklyn, they fit perfectly with the roster of their label Sacred Bones, which concentrates on the noisier, darker, and more psychedelic tendencies of indie rock.
Pop. 1280 proved they were among Sacred Bones' rawest bands with The Horror, and while they're just as uncompromising on Imps of Perversion, they've also streamlined their attack and found more shades in their menace. The band worked with producer Martin Bisi -- who's also collaborated with Swans and Cop Shoot Cop -- on this album, and he helps them achieve a similar bludgeoning-yet-hypnotic intensity.
The front cover of Pop. 1280’s new album features a shot of the Manhattan skyline at night and, thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, some multi-headed mutant monster rising from the waters before it. The scene is apropos on many levels: in both sound and intent, Pop. 1280 very much seem like the product of the notoriously seedy New York City that was eventually washed away by the dual forces of Giuliani and gentrification.
Pop. 1280Imps of Perversion[Sacred Bones; 2013]By Ray Finlayson; August 30, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetIn a way, Nick Corey and Chris Bug contrast rather fittingly, even though many might assume they bear a likeness to each other. Corey, the high-powered, deceptive main character from Jim Thompson’s 1964 novel Pop.
The word imp often conjures thoughts of a little cartoon devil: bulbous head, beet red skin, and a thin pitchfork. Something small, mischievous, maybe even up to no good, but not capable of doing all that much damage. Not much bark or bite, but maybe more a pinprick to the rear end here and there. Taking the more specific route, my dictionary says that imp could mean “a small demon” or “a mischievous child.” But the title of Pop.
I’ve always felt that if you want your band to stand out, sounding aggressive is always a good way to go. It won’t necessarily make you unique – hundreds of band are mining influences from punk and extreme music these days – but if you ask me, nothing demands a listener’s attention better than spitting venom in their faces and treating music as a weapon. From Pissed Jeans to Iceage to Savages, this year has seen many talented groups captivate listeners by ripping out their jugular with confrontational-yet-compelling releases, and it’s hard to deny that much of the appeal of these bands comes directly from their antagonizing nature.