Holograms, “Monolith”

Ari Spool

Album art

We can look back on the last two times heavy, dark music was in vogue, and draw comparisons thereof here. Both were around the turn of a decade: the late '80s/ early '90s, and the late '70s/early '80s. In the former, the United States had been under conservative leadership for quite some time, and trickle-down economics was clearly ineffective. The areas where that heavy music revolution began were wholeheartedly blue-collar and extra-urban, eventually migrating to cities like Seattle when they found success. The late '70s/ early '80s had seen ineffective Democratic leadership turn into conservative leadership, leaving the country in a recession, with urban manufacturing jobs becoming scarce and the Rust Belt beginning to dry up due to the increase in Japanese imports. The heavy, harsh groups founded during this time were mostly urban – based either in the harsh areas of New York and LA or the children of factory workers in the Midwestern metropolis. The case has been made before that a depressed economy leads to music with more aggression; this is a very basic survey of broad economic factors, but I think you get the point.

You already know that we are in a recession right now, and so that means we can expect a new brand of heavy music to start making its mark. Two things are new this time around. First: the movement is much more global. Bands like Bazooka and Acid Baby Jesus are coming up with hard rock sounds in Athens (one of the worst places for someone to be considering their economic future in the developed world right now), and the Copenhagen contingent of ICEAGE and VÅR is dominating the minds of many fans. This makes sense, especially from the point of view of Greece; unemployment for young people in Europe is epicly high, and that combined with their high education levels and simpler access to entitlement programs frees up their time to be angry in public about not being able to get a job. The other thing that is interesting is that we are finding the music to have shreds of fascist aesthetic elements, which was more often seen in the late '70s, under the liberal leadership, than in the '90s when we were looking square in the eyes of Republicans. I'm not saying that Holograms echo this sentiment, but it's definitely there in the Copenhagen kids, whether they deny it or not – not a value judgement, just an observation. Perhaps, the youth believe that people can't be left to make their own choices without destroying themselves. It's a valid opinion to have when you watch your country rip itself inside out for no reason other than greed.

Holograms, who hail from Stockholm, are joining in the wave with “Monolith”, off their forthcoming LP, coming July 10 on Captured Tracks. If you don't believe me about these trends, just read the first bit of their given bio:

“Despite being perpetually too poor to drink dusted dive-bar drafts, Stockholm’s Holograms still manage to projectile vomit their fare share of poison. Their regurgitations originate more from the nausea inherent with menial labor in the desolate warehouses of Sweden than alcohol abuse; ultimately making it more enjoyable to sift through. “

Shit's fucked for them. They can't even afford beer. So they get out their anger with music. And that's where we are right now, in the world. Even a punk song has deeper meaning.

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