Time to get up and stomp around in your favorite pair of distressed boots or skate shoes – you now have a brand new soundtrack. The post-punk group Preoccupations (fka Viet Cong) from Calgary Alberta are spot on when it comes to finding a balance between disruptive and soothing. This balance shines through with a multilayered synth track, monotonous vocal melody, and probing base line in their latest single Degraded” from their upcoming self-titled album.

Listen to “Degraded” the second single from the album “Preoccupations”. 

This track has a story to tell. When frontman Matt Flegel, guitarist Danny Christiansen, multi-instrumentalist Scott Munro and drummer Mike Wallace wrote and recorded their new record, they were making the effort to come together again after difficult past year. Citing challenges like ending long-term relationships and leaving homes behind to move to new and different cities the four members of Preoccupations explain that prior to recording, their relationship as a band was in a state of near total instability. The band was formed in Calgary Alberta in 2012 and their debut release was a tour-only cassette in 2013. They released an LP version in January 2015 via Flemish Eye in Canada featuring the song “Continental Shelf”. These recording and touring projects were all under the band name “Viet Cong” before the group changed to the name “Preoccupations” in 2015.

While the quartet found themselves in a difficult place before entering the studio, “Degraded” rings with acceptance and carries with it a certain optimistic feel. The melody is a constant movement of sound supported by energetic drum and bass loops. All of this movement is set off by the single mysterious and hopeful note at the start of the song. While optimism hovers with the note of a flute in the air, seriousness is maintained with the dark and somber vocal melody, emulating the layered and dense post-punk qualities people know and love.

This new single release rises in the wake of the track “Anxiety” which is accompanied by David Yoonha Park’s thoroughly unsettling surrealist music video. The track could potentially make you anxious with all the tense clattering noise; but the sounds drift into focus and you become a listener ready to rough things out either on your own or with hundreds of others up front at a crowded live show.

Preoccupations describes the experience of recording the new album as a “cliff jump” with no central theme or guiding idea. They had one another and in that steadiness they found the strength to create this new album. The tracklist is a literal list of what Flegel describes as real experiences from the band. There is little mystery.

“Monotony is a dead end job; Anxiety is changing as a band; memory is watching someone lose their mind; Fever is comforting someone. It’s all drawing from very specific things.” – Matt Flegel tweet

Preoccupations album is set for release on September 16th via Flemish Eye in CanadaPre-order here (digital/vinyl/cassette/CD): http://smarturl.it/preoccupations

Following their Sasquatch Festival debut and a blistering performance at the Ottawa Blues Festival, Preoccupations is gearing up for an extensive world tour. Dates have been announced and include a US leg with Explosions In The Sky, Canadian dates in Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and two packed months in the US and Europe.

Live – Preoccupations on Tour
08.21.16 – White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX *
08.22.16 – Bomb Factory – Dallas, TX *
08.24.16 – Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX *
08.28.16 – FYF Fest – Los Angeles, CA
08.29.16 – Mountain Winery – Saratoga, CA *
08.30.16 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA *
09.01.16 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR *
09.02.16 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR *
09.28.16 – The Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC
10.01.16 – Mac Hall Ballroom – Calgary, AB ^
10.03.16 – WECC – Winnepeg, MB ^
10.04.16 – Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, Mn ^
10.05.16 – Thalia Hall – Chicago, Il ^
10.07.16 – Crofoot Ballroom – Pontiac, Mi ^
10.08.16 – Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON ^
10.11.16 Virgin Mobile Corona Theater Montreal, QC ^
10.12.16 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, Ma ^
10.14.16 – Warsaw – Brooklyn NY ^
10.15.16 – First Unitarian Church – Philadelphia, Pa ^
10.16.16 – Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington DC ^
10.18.16 – Masquerade – Atlanta, Ga ^
10.19.16 – Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, La ^
10.21.16 – The Mohawk – Austin, Tx ^
10.25.16 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, Az ^
10.26.16 – The Irenic – San Diego, Ca ^
10.28.16 – The Roxy – Los Angeles, Ca ^
10.29.16 – The Independent – San Francisco, Ca
11.02.16 – Neumos – Seattle, Wa ^
11.05.15 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK
11.06.16 – Gorilla – Manchester, UK
11.07.16 – Oval Space – London, UK
11.08.16 – Exchange – Bristol, UK
11.09.16 – Haunt – Brighton, UK
11.10.16 – Le Guess Who Festival – Utrecht, NL
11.12.16 – Botanique – Brussels, BE
11.14.16 – Pumpehuset – Copenhagen, DK
11.15.16 – Molotow – Hamburg, DE
11.16.16 Bi Nuu – Berlin, DE
11.18.16 – Musiques Volantes Festival – Metz, FR
11.19.16 – New Noise Festival – Paris, FR
11.21.16 – La Laiterie – Strasbourg, CH
11.22.16 – Klaus – Zurich, CH
11.23.16 – Magnolia – Milan, IT
11.24.16 – Quirinetta – Rome, IT
11.25.16 – Locomotiv – Bologna, IT
11.26.16 – Suprette Festival – Neuchatel, CH
11.28.16 – Luxor – Cologne, DE
11.29.16 – Paradiso Noord – Amsterdam, NL

^ w/ Methyl Ethel
* w/ Explosions In The Sky

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Adam Helmers

Music was everywhere when I grew up at my family house in downtown Kitchener. My dad is a musician, my mom loves to sing and I have many musical siblings. I moved to London Ontario where I work and am in my last year of English and French at Western University. My musical interests vary and I like to explore with Spotify and Youtube. I don't own a pair of #musicislife sweatpants but I should.