These are dark times, as America slips this week into a quasi-fascist situation. Surely some would react by retreating into cultural comforts that offer escape and solace – but for a music that vividly reflects the anxiety and foreboding of the onset of 2017 America, may we recommend LA’s VOWWS?
The saturnine duo, who go only by Rizz and Matt, actually hail from Sydney. But their modern-gothic songs are rife with the tension of international and personal unrest. One such track, “Losing Myself in You,” featured synth god Gary Numan, who has become a fan.
Their newest, “Heartbreaker,” which BlackBook premieres here, is jittery and metallic, a meditation on an existential crisis, heightened by sinister guitar riffs and eerie synths. “I run in circles, I walk in daydreams / And disappointment is all I get for free,” goes the lyrical lament.
“It’s about cults of personality,” Rizz explains, “and the manipulation and control that goes along with them. Devoting yourself completely to someone else’s vision of the world can give a feeling of safety and protection; but it’s false, poisonous and ruins you from the inside. The world is now dominated by extremes that are pulling us further apart, unmooring us from anything real – we’ve created our own disease and are killing off the cure. We wanted to capture that in a song. ”
Bonus? The spooky cover art is by Jesse Draxler, who has worked with Alexander McQueen.
A must see live act, VOWWS’ 2017 tour launches February 1 at D.C.’s 9:30 Club, moving on to Music Hall of Williamsburg the next night. It then takes them to nine more cities, including Toronto, Chicago, Vancouver and San Francisco, before concluding at LA’s El Rey Theater on the 15th.