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February 1, 2018 — “Never Coming Back” by A Place to Bury Strangers

A Place to Bury Strangers

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Never Coming Back” by A Place to Bury Strangers (2018, from the forthcoming album Pinned)
A Place to Bury Strangers is a noise-rock trio from Brooklyn. Often hailed as “the loudest band in New York”, the band has been exhilarating and deafening audiences since 2003. They’ve only released four albums(with another on the way) but they’ve toured extensively and taken their time with each album. When they tour, by the way, they bring way more gear than other bands who play in clubs. The only time I’ve seen them, they brought their own PA and light rigs. And it was amazing.

I called Worship my #12 album of 2012 and Transfixiation my #10 album of 2015. Every time that I’ve been given a chance, I’ve mentioned to anyone who will listen that the one time I saw them live was sort of a mind-blowing experience. Even with some high-quality ear plugs, it was a little bit painful. In a good way. They don’t play loudly for the sake of playing loudly. It’s like the simultaneous chaos and control of Psychocandy. The noise is carefully constructed and manipulated, and at extraordinarily high volume, the sound gets better. Every bit of fuzz and feedback is painstakingly engineered in the same way that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker annoyingly strove for perfection in the Steely Dan recording studios.

Since Transfixiation, the band has gotten a new drummer in Lia Simone Braswell. She’s been around for a while playing in bands in Los Angeles, and filling in for touring bands. She moved to New York a few years ago and was spotted by APTBS bassist Dion Lunadon. He asked her to join the band, and that’s where they stand now. She brings more than drumming to the mix, though; she sings on a couple of the songs including tonight’s song. This band has always been about blunt force, and her voice adds a little bit of softness to the equation. Make no mistake, though; this is noisy as hell, especially in the second half of the song. I love it.

“Never Coming Back” by A Place to Bury Strangers

It starts off just like any APTBS song. The signature bass leads the way until about 0:50, when the guitars slowly build to a roar. Every time you think it’s reached a boiling point, it hasn’t. There’s a bit at about 2:53, with the rapid-fire pummeling of the drums, the squalling guitar and the mountains of feedback. You think that has to be it. But it’s not. Then there’s a signature APTBS break, and then hell really breaks loose. At 3:33, there’s another big burst of controlled chaotic activity that doesn’t let up until the end.

It’s noisy as hell. You either love APTBS for their noise or you absolutely hate them for it. There is no middle ground. You already know where I stand.

The new album will be out on April 13 via Dead Oceans. You can pre-order here. You can also catch APTBS on tour. They’re playing a show in Montréal tomorrow night, then they’ll play a bunch of shows at SXSW, then an album release party in Brooklyn, then a big tour starting in April that takes them through Europe. They’ll have a few days off before the North American tour which ends in June.

There’s a very strange video for the song that was just released yesterday. Make what you will of it.

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