Upset The Rhythm presents
PROTOMARTYR are a post-punk band from Detroit who have mastered the art of evoking place: the grinding Midwest humility of their hometown, as well as the x-rayed elucidation of America that comes with their vantage. Protomartyr—vocalist Joe Casey, guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer Alex Leonard, and bassist Scott Davidson—have become synonymous with caustic, impressionistic assemblages of politics and poetry, the literal and oblique.
The group’s forthcoming sixth album, recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, is called Formal Growth In The Desert. And though frontman Joe Casey did have a humbling experience staring at awe-inspiring Sonoran rock formations and reckoning with his own smallness in the scheme of things – as recounted in the single “Elimination Dances” – the title is not necessarily a nod to the sandy expanses of the southwest. Detroit, too, is like a desert. “The desert is more of a metaphor or symbol,” Casey says, “of emotional deserts, or a place or time that seems to lack life.” The desert brings an existential awareness that is ultimately internal. Formal Growth In The Desert is a 12-song testament to “getting on with life,” even when it feels impossibly hard. “I was trying to find a way forward after some pretty heavy things, without lyrically resorting to, Oh my god, my life sucks,” Casey says. “I was trying to see what was beyond the trouble.” The titles of the two opening songs—the moody “Make Way” followed by the charging ennui of “For Tomorrow”—complete that thought. A filmic sensibility is manifest in the band’s dynamic, spacious sound and Casey’s storytelling, too, whether he’s critiquing ominous techno-capitalism or processing aging, the future, and the possibility of love.
ES returned this April with an incredible new EP called ‘Fantasy’. A four-track contact-high anxiety amid fact and facsimile, this release attempts to define a sound that still resonates in an increasingly confused public theatre, where cerebral dreams manifest in corrupt fascination. Echoing the legendary Pylon or the later, disco-inspired releases from PIL, tracks like ‘Emergency’ and ‘Unreal’ blend the band’s established disjunctive style of gothic restlessness with brighter, poppy, and danceable tones. These stylistically unwind in transition with the increasingly claustrophobic pieces like ‘Too Late’ and ‘Swallowed Whole’, syncopating a parallel design of the frantic and the fashionable. Es deconstruct our modern wreckage of personhood and self-deceit, granting a sense of solidarity inside alienation. Inside ‘Fantasy’ we visualize our own estrangement, and it is only when this mirror fades that we find the tools to fight back.
Please note this show is 14+ (under 16s must be accompanied by an 18+ adult / Proof of age is required at entry.)