Soft Kill share new single + video for ‘Floodgate’

Soft Kill press photo
Photo credit: Sam Gehrke Photography

Portland post-punk five piece Soft Kill have shared their third single, Floodgate featuring singer-songwriter Tamaryn. The track is lifted from their forthcoming November 20th album release ‘Dead Kids, R.I.P. City,’ the long-awaited follow up to 2018’s ‘Savior. Says the band’s Tobias Grave, “Floodgate is about unraveling mentally and pushing away your lifelines. It’s about being trapped in solitude, suffocating in a world you created.” 

Watch the video for Floodgate via YouTube below.

The band have shared two other singles these past few weeks; Pretty Face, which encapsulates listeners with its steady pulse of bass and cinematic-like guitar melodies, taking a slightly left field approach to post-punk with its triumphant and upbeat energy. That followed the lead doom and gloom pop single Roses All Around, which is dark yet luminous in every sense, from its driving percussive beats, harmonic grooves and melodies, while also creating an opportunity to openly discuss its sociopolitical message that is especially prominent now as Portland  became the epicenter of unrest these past few months. 

Soft Kill had been growing with pretty much every record – but a deep maturation, achieving a level of emotional intensity that, even for a band known for exactly that, was nothing short of awe-inspiring and inarguably a high water mark. The question then, was how do they possibly follow that up?  Well, here we are, two years later with ‘Dead Kids, R.I.P. City,’ and we can all set down our worry beads. Soft Kill, Tobias Grave, Conrad Vollmer, Owen Glendower, Daniel Deleon and Nicole Colbath, have in fact put any such concerns commandingly to rest. Two years in the making, desperate, redemptive, its contrast of light and shadow favoring the latter, ‘Dead Kids, R.I.P. City’ is like no other album in the genre, featuring the brave and abandoned, the tender and the afflicted, all teetering in memory on the edge of the city. For all the sadness and pain of addiction haunting it, however, the record, by its very existence, proves that hope doesn’t necessarily win but that, even if at great cost, it can. It’s what makes ‘Dead Kids, R.I.P. City’ so powerful beyond just the scope of its dark luminous sound and indelible melodies, and is one of the many reasons you’ll carry it with you.

A story odyssey of sorts told in ten parts, ten songs – each track essentially a character – ‘Dead Kids, R.I.P City,’ produced by David Trumfio (Built To Spill, Wilco) and mastered by the legendary Howie Weinberg (The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana), explores, through a beguiling mix of personal memory, allegory, and narrative structures by turns both poetic and stinging, a long and complicated relationship with a dark version of Portland OR. It’s songs that tell of the fractured and fragile legacies of those lost during the city’s last couple decades as it moves from soggy backwater to unheard of growth and tech-fueled transformation. From the frantic cascade of guitar that carries Roses All Around relentlessly toward the track’s vision of rain-filled gutters overflowing with dashed dreams, to the chiming sorrow and yearning of the steadily pounding Inverness where we find a strung out young man sitting in a wheelchair somewhere in downtown Portland accepting what fate has brought him, to Crimey’s darkly joyous dance groove and the one-two swan-song punch of apocalyptic dreamscape Oil Burner and the mournful, elegiac I Needed the Pain, you’ll find the honesty so hard fought for and won through the crucible of Savior paying further dividends on ‘Dead Kids, R.I.P. City’. Featuring guest vocals by Choir Boy’s Adam Klopp on Matty Rue and Tamaryn on Floodgate.

Whether it’s Hooper Detox choked with cigarette smoke, the grim and grimy downtown doorways, abandoned industrial buildings on N.Interstate, the confinement cells at Inverness Jail or a midnight apartment building rooftop in Northwest, the scenes that backdrop these characters’ stories offer a scuffed amber portrait of a Portland that is no more. It’s the individuals themselves, however, some dead none forgotten, that turn this tour through Tobias’s past into a fever dream memoriam. Though inescapably nostalgic, it’s the type nostalgia that burns with immediacy, like a post-punk John Steinbeck crossed with Robert Smith crossed with Gus Van Sant. 

Soft Kill Dead Kids, R.I.P City cover artwork

‘Dead Kids, R.I.P. City’ will be out on November 20th via Cercle Social Records/Cobraside. Pre-order the album here.