Download: Elks, "Destined For the Sun"
Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Somewhere at the crossroads of punk, metal, sludge, garage, and a beer-soaked bag of 12-sided die lie Brooklyn chug-monsters Elks. Much like contemporaries High On Fire or Coliseum, the band is at once majestic and rollicking, matching fantastic, orc-stabbing melodies with a friendly, Mastodonic gallop. Their forthcoming debut EP, Elks In Space, is a monstrous, six-song concept record "chronicling the history of a tribe of nomadic space Vikings." The album was recorded by Made Out Of Babies guitarist Brendan Tobin, also responsible for this year's similarly sludge-gunked YIMBY grads Cleanteeth. Says guitarist Josh Scannell, "It was the first session I've been involved in that hasn't made me want to kill things." The midpoint of their cosmo-warrior epic is "Destined For The Sun," a track that is simultaneously brutal and hella fun--mostly thanks to the jaunty triplet feel, some completely unhinged guitar solos, and no shortage of fist-banging mania. Plus there's the whole space Viking thing. To infinity and beyond!
What is "Destined For The Sun" about?
Don Stewart, bass/vocals: "Destined for the Sun" is about the peaceful inhabitants of a planet colonized by an expanding empire. Devin McManus, guitar/vocals: The EP as a whole tells their story, and incorporates all sorts of sci-fi ephemera--like a super computer at the end of the universe dubbed "The Wizard." Stewart: Tricked during first contact, the natives find themselves aboard a golden space hulk hurtling towards the nearest sun. Without food or water they are forced to eat the flesh of their kin while the heat from the approaching sun slowly cooks them alive. Eventually their screams reach out across the stars to awaken a slumbering Rift Wurm, which knocks them off course. Their ship crash lands on an inhabitable planet, and the unlucky survivors begin to rebuild their society with one goal in mind: Revenge.
Tell me about the "nomadic space vikings" narrative.
Stewart: Last summer Dev and I were on a trip to North Hampton, Massachusetts to lay down some rough demos at a studio there. It was the Fourth of July and we were sitting in this field after the fireworks just staring at the moon for a long time. We went over to the local American Legion and started talking about the vastness of space and all the Vikings that must be out there roaming the stars. We'd had more than a few pitchers. McManus: Personally I've always been interested in science fiction--most of my favorite books are by Philip K Dick. I'm also working on a science fiction novel of my own entitled The Primacy Condition. Stewart: Science fiction is just cool in general. I did all the standard stuff as a kid, Warhammer 40,000 and Battletech, and never grew out of it. Who would want to? This earth can suck and sometimes you need a vacation.
What is your favorite non-metal groove of all time?
McManus: I am an enormous fan of the song "Bad Girl" by Lee Moses. Stewart: "Lost in the Flood" by Bruce Springsteen. Josh Scannell, guitar: Maybe "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks. Sean Adams, drums: "Take It to The Limit" by The Eagles.
What's the most memorable show you've ever played in New York?
McManus: My favorite show was probably Death By Audio with Heavy Cream from Nashville and Splinters from Oakland. JEFF The Brotherhood, a band that I am a huge fan of, was scheduled to play, but had to cancel because their singer was coughing up blood--pretty metal. We were definitely the oddballs on the bill, but everyone there was way into our set. We like to think that our music is accessible to all types of people so it is always great to see that in action.
What's your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Stewart: Shachi's Arepas on South 4th and Havermeyer. Best brunch in Brooklyn. McManus: Saltie on Metropolitan across from the Knitting Factory. Really kick-ass sandwiches with all homemade ingredients. Adams: The Kennedy Fried Chicken on Knickerbocker and Jefferson. Scannell: Is it too easy to say Diner? Honestly in spite of how many truly awesome restaurants there are in Brooklyn I might have to say my own kitchen. My girlfriend and I have made some pretty epic meals together in there.
Elks play September 3 at Santos Party House with Today Is The Day and A Storm Of Light. They have a make-up gig with JEFF The Brotherhood at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Oct 28.
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