Preoccupations announce new self-titled album


Preoccupations have announced details of their new self-titled album. When the band wrote and recorded their new record, they were in a state of near total instability. Years-long relationships ended, and all four band members moved to different cities. They decided to change their band name, but hadn’t come up with a new one, and their songwriting approach was basically thrown out the window. This time, they walked into producer’s Graham Walsh’s studio almost completely defeated, buoyed by one another while the rest of their lives were virtually unrecognizable and rootless. There was no central theme or idea to guide the band’s collective cliff jump. As a result, their second full-length album — and the first under their new name — bears the visceral, personal sound of holding onto some steadiness in the midst of changing everything.

‘Preoccupations’ will come out on September 16th on LP/CD/cassette and digitally. The first single Anxiety is out now, and articulates tension: clattering sounds drift into focus, bouncing and echoing off one another until one bone-shattering moment when the full band strikes at once, moving from something untouchable to get to something deeply felt. Watch the video for Anxiety via YouTube below, which was directed by David Yoonha Park who helmed two of their previous videos. The video was shot largely in Ymir, British Columbia and is based around a series of surreal vignettes depicting various childhood fears and phobias.

Frontman Matt Flegel is quick to point out how little mystery is in the titles of these songs: Anxiety, Monotony, Degraded, Stimulation, Fever.  “Monotony is a dead end job; Anxiety is changing as a band,” he says.  “Memory is watching someone lose their mind; Fever is comforting someone. It’s all drawing from very specific things.” These things — bigger ones like breakups, smaller ones like simply trying to calm someone down —  are ultimately the things that explode our brains, that keep us up at night. And so where their previous album ‘Viet Cong’ was built in some ways on the abstract cycles of creation and destruction, ‘Preoccupations’ explores how that sometimes-suffocating, sometimes-revelatory trap affects our lives. “We discarded a lot, reworking songs pretty ruthlessly,” Munro explains. “We ripped songs down to the studs, taking one piece we liked and building something new around it. It was pretty cannibalistic, I guess. Existing songs were killed and used to make new ones.”   Sonically, it’s still blistering.  But it’s a different kind of blister, less the the scorched earth of the band’s previous LP, more like a blood blister on a fingertip: something immediate and physical that you push and stare at. It’s yours.

Opener Anxiety articulates that tension: clattering sounds drift into focus, bouncing and echoing off one another until one bone-shattering moment when the full band strikes at once, moving from something untouchable to get to something deeply felt. Monotony moves at a narcoleptic pace by Preoccupations’ standards, but snaps to attention to make its point, that “this repetition’s killing you // it’s killing everyone.”  Stimulation opens with a snarl and hurls itself forward at what feels like a million bpm, pausing for one mortal moment of relief before barreling onward. Degraded surprises, with something like a traditional structure and an almost pop-leaning melody to its chorus, twisting the bigness of Preoccupations’ music to sideswipe the clear, finite smallness of its subjects and events. And the 11-minute-long Memory is the album’s keystone, with an intimate narrative and a truly timeless post-punk center. There’s love piercing through the iciness here, fighting its way forward in each of the song’s distinct sections.

As always, there is something crystalline to what they’ve made, a blast of cold air in a burning hot place.  All this adds up to Preoccupations: a singular, bracing collection that proves what’s punishing can also be soothing, everything can change without disrupting your compass. Your best year can be your worst year at the same time.  Whatever sends you flying can also help you land.


Preoccupations cover

‘Preoccupations’ track listing:

1    Anxiety
2    Monotony
3    Zodiac
4    Memory
5    Degraded
6    Sense
7    Forbidden
8    Stimulation
9    Fever


Pre-order ‘Preoccupations’ via Flemish Eye

Fresh off their Sasquatch Festival debut, Preoccupations have announced their world tour dates for 2016, including dates in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal – full dates appear below.

Tour dates:
13-Jun  :  Baby’s All Right  :  Brooklyn, NY
17-Jun  :  Best Kept Secret Festival  :  Hilvarenbeek
18-Jun  :  Out Loud @ Beursschouwburg  :  Brussels
19-Jun  :  Subbacultura @ De School  :  Amsterdam
22-Jun  :  Shacklewell Arms  :  London
23-Jun  :  Old Blue Last  :  London
28-Jun  :  L’Olympic Café  :  Paris
30-Jun  :  Urban Spree  :  Berlin
2-Jul  :  Castlepalooza  :  Tullamore
9-Jul  :  Ottawa Blues Festival  :  Ottaw, ONT
21-Aug  :  White Oak Music Hall  :  Houston, Tx
22-Aug  :  Bomb Factory  :  Dallas, Tx
24-Aug  :  Tricky Falls  :  El Paso, Tx
28-Aug  :  FYF Festival  :  Los Angeles, Ca
29-Aug  :  Mountain Winery  :  Saratoga, Ca
30-Aug  :  Ace of Spaces  :  Sacramento, Ca
1-Sep  :  Crystal Ballroom  :  Portland, Or
2-Sep  :  Crystal Ballroom  :  Portland, Or
28-Sep  :  The Rickshaw Theater  :  Vancouver, BC
1-Oct  :  Mac Hall Ballroom  :  Calgary, AB
3-Oct  :  WECC  :  Winnipeg, MB
4-Oct  :  Fine Line Music Café  :  Minneapolis, Mn
5-Oct  :  Thalia Hall  :  Chicago, IL
7-Oct  :  Crofoot Ballroom (Pike Room)  :  Pontiac, Mi
8-Oct  :  Danforth Music Hall  :  Toronto, ONT
11-Oct  :  Virgin Mobile Corona Theater  :  Montreal, QC
12-Oct  :  The Sinclair  :  Cambridge, MA
14-Oct  :  Warsaw  :  Brooklyn, NY
15-Oct  :  First Unitarian Church  :  Philadelphia, Pa
16-Oct  :  Rock & Roll Hotel  :  Washington DC
18-Oct  :  Masquerade (Hell Stage)  :  Atlanta, Ga
19-Oct  :  Gasa Gasa  :  New Orleans, La
21-Oct  :  The Mohawk  :  Austin, Tx
25-Oct  :  Valley Bar  :  Phoenix, Az
26-Oct  :  Irenic  :  San Diego, Ca
28-Oct  :  The Roxy  :  Los Angeles, Ca
29-Oct  :  The Independent  :  San Francisco, Ca
2-Nov  :  Neumos  :  Seattle, Wa
5-Nov  :  Brudenell Social Club  :  Leeds
6-Nov  :  Gorilla  :  Manchester
7-Nov  :  Oval Space  :  London
8-Nov  :  Exchange  :  Bristol
9-Nov  :  Haunt  :  Brighton
10-Nov  :  Le Guess Who? Festival  :  Utrecht
12-Nov  :  Botanique  :  Brussels
14-Nov  :  Pumpehuset  :  Copenhagen
15-Nov  :  Molotow  :  Hamburg
18-Nov  :  Musiques Volantes Festival  :  Metz
21-Nov  :  La Laiterie  :  Strasbourg
22-Nov  :  Klaus  :  Zurich
23-Nov  :  Magnolia  :  Milano
24-Nov  :  Quirinetta  :  Roma
25-Nov  :  Locomotiv  :  Bologna
26-Nov  :  Suprette Festival  :  Neuchatel
28-Nov  :  Luxor  :  Cologne

For more information on Preoccupations, visit