Brooklyn trio These Are Powers call themselves “ghost punk”; if by that they mean haunting, arresting music that is difficult to shake, then sure —ghost punk it is. Their music is certainly a bracing mix of repetition, breathless narration building towards Stein-ian abstraction, and searing (yet oddly vulnerable) noise. Their 2007 Elsie & Jack 7", Silver Lung, quickly became one of my favorite discoveries; I can’t wait for their new one, Terrific Seasons (out this week).
Sometimes all I want is restful music that doesn’t make too many demands on my attention. At other times I want music that grabs me by the throat and drags me around the room. (Figuratively speaking, of course.) These Are Powers fits that bill nicely.
Although its stylistic opposite in many ways, their music has the same attention to detail as that of Broadcast. While they may not trade in analogue lushness like the former, they know how to create a unique, consistent sonic universe for their songs to inhabit —a world of lurid detail and Technicolor dread (very Giallo), grounded by a fierce angularity that would make Mars (may they rest in peace) proud.
Anna Barie sings like a vengeful banshee hell-bent on destruction (she can also sound disconcertingly girlish when she wants to); the band, desperate to keep up, builds on the scrawled desperation with a wildly inventive percussive clatter (as one would expect from a group that includes ex-members of Liars and Knife Skills among their number). It may sound menacingly shrill at first, but give yourself a minute to acclimate —the exhilaration will catch up with you.
They’re playing a record-release party of sorts on Tuesday, October 23rd (tomorrow night!) at Brown University’s Hourglass Café (located in Faunce House on campus —75 Waterman St.). Doors are at 7PM, show at 8; donations accepted. Rounding out the bill: Parts & Labor, WZT Hearts, and Werewolf Unit. The show is being sponsored by Brown Student Radio. I wouldn't be surprised if a live set by one (or more) of the bands found its way online.
These Are Powers, “The South Angel” (from These Are Powers EP, self-released, 2006)
These Are Powers, “Little Sisters of Beijing” (from Terrific Seasons, Hoss Records, 2007)
PHOTO BY ANDREA FELDMAN • STREET ART + GRAFFITI, WMSBURG, 2007