Male Gaze, “Lesser Demons”

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Male Gaze

For the past two years, the San Francisco trio of Mark Kaiser, Adam Cimino, and Matt Jones (formerly of synth-punk act Blasted Canyons) have been churning out scuzzy punk tunes that flirt with abrasion but still land nicely within the lines of pop music. Since Male Gaze’s 2015 release Gale Maze—which in between the sludge even bordered on sounding new wave—ex-Tiaras and Blasted Canyons member Adam Finken has joined them on second guitar, and they’ve amped up the volume a bit.

In keeping with their wholehearted commitment to punning, they’ve named their upcoming debut full-length King Leer, and it’s set to come out in June. “Lesser Demons” feels especially clean for these guys, but it’s intense, with wayward guitar lines wrapping around an insistent drumbeat and pulling back only to make room for Jones’s voice. As he broaches the politics of the interpersonal, his vocals are at their deepest and most gripping—between the subtle harmonies and tight doubling they have a hypnotic pull. Plays on words like the pairing “I’m wearing you down / wearing your crown” at the blast of the chorus are at once flippant and dark; Male Gaze are letting a seriousness and edge show along with their most melodic side.

King Leer is out June 17 on Castle Face Records, and you can stream “Lesser Demons” below.