Kal Marks

+ Plattenbau

data: 27 X 2023   pt.   20:00
Kal Marks
In early 2020, the long-standing three-piece lineup of Kal Marks dissolved. This left Carl Shane, the band’s vocalist, guitarist, and de facto leader wondering if the Boston noise-rock institution he’d started nearly a decade prior would even continue. “Dylan Teggart (A Deer A Horse) reached out to me and asked if I wanted to play music. I knew he was a great drummer, and if anyone could play this kind of music it was him. It got me thinking that I could start a new version of the band. I had all these songs that I wrote for Kal Marks, and it seemed like it would be a waste if I didn’t use them.”
Shane decided to push forward and reached out to Christina Puerto (Bethlehem Steel) to become Kal Marks’ second guitar player—a first for the long-running band. With John Russell
joining on bass shortly thereafter, Kal Marks was ready to tread into unknown waters. The result is My Name Is Hell, the band’s fifth album out August 5th on Exploding In Sound Records.
From the first notes of the album opener, “My Life Is A Freak Show,” there’s something distinctly different about this version of Kal Marks. While Shane still sounds like himself,he allows his
voice to sit front and center without any adornments. His vocals appear more human and vulnerable, which matches the band’s new musical trajectory perfectly. Of course, Shane still
kicks in screams that shake the speakers, but he sounds less like a monster and more like a person exorcising their demons.
From track to track on My Name Is Hell, the lyrics tackle everything from losing friends, religion’s toxic touch, the crushing weight of debt, the monotony of the suburbs, and the disgusting nature of the human race. Much like he needed his band to be torn down to build this new version of it, Shane’s songs never give the sense that he’s wallowing in these subjects. Instead, he’s trying to make sense of them and find some peace throughout that journey. By plumbing the depths of his anger, frustration, and sadness, My Name Is Hell admits that we’re all a little scared, angry, and confused, but we’re still trying to navigate the world the best we can.
„A lot of the tragedy and destruction that I’m talking about isn’t happening directly to me, but it affects me,” says Shane. “Any anger I have has boiled over and faded anyway. There seems to be no point in being angry, because it’s not going to change anything. Anger makes a shitty situation worse. Nobody is coming back to life, and more loved ones will die. I have an emptiness that can never be filled but I’m coping with it.”
On tracks such as “Everybody Hertz” and “Ovation,” the addition of Puerto on guitar shows that Kal Marks is able to evoke new depths as her and Shane’s guitars build off one another, allowing them to serve as meaningful counterpoints and counterbalances to the subject matter of the songs. In tandem, Teggart and Russell build off the bass-heavy, propulsive sound the band is known for, but they expand upon the sonic palette, weaving in influences from krautrock, electronic and funk. These are big, weird, burly noise-rock songs, but the hooks feel more pronounced and accentuated. At its core, My Name Is Hell is a pop record.
My Name Is Hell sounds and feels like a fresh start for Kal Marks. After 10 years spent digging into the ugliness of the world, here you can feel the catharsis and commitment to moving forward baked into the music itself. In the face of death, Kal Marks chose to live, and My Name Is Hell is a document of every one of those moments along the way.
Corporate post-truth band Plattenbau provide a clash of the primitive with high-minded internal feelings. Guitar-trashing, synth-smashing noise-pop and post-punk.
Plattenbau are:
Lewis Lloyd (he/him)
Jesper Munk (he/him)
Sally Brown (she/her)
Brandon Walsh (he/him)
Berlin Art Punks Plattenbau are the latest signing to Dedstrange, Oliver Ackermann from A Place To Bury Strangers/Death By Audio’s new label.
Plattenbau formed in 2011 in the dark basement of the former Stasi HQ in East Berlin. Originally strictly a recording project, they jammed over slow grinding death rock for hours and listened back to the tapes into cold dark nights, talking alternate realities, corporate ghost stories, and the death of ideology.
In the years since they have joined the likes of Idles, Preoccupations, Flasher, The Garden, La Luz, and Naomi Punk on stage. Their first US tour in Spring 2016 included dates at Silent Barn (NY), Empty Bottle (Chi), and a run of shows at SXSW. They subsequently toured Europe extensively, and returned to the US for two tours in 2018.
Over the years, frontman Lewis Lloyd’s songs have evolved from wiry and jagged post-punk to taut, ironclad synth fortresses, mechanical and repetitive, brutal and hypnotic. Early themes of fleeting youth and wasted nights have given way to lyrics embodying the excesses and brutalities of our world. Yet somehow these songs remain fun, straddling the ever-fruitful territory between noise and pop.
In late 2019 Plattenbau got a fresh line-up with solo-artist Jesper Munk on guitar, Sally Brown (Gurr) on bass, Brandon Walsh on drums and Lewis Lloyd on vox and synths. They played a sold out show at Berlin’s Urban Spree club with Belgrado, before the pandemic hit.
Since then, Plattenbau have been working on their album „Shape / Shifting” which they released in 2022 on Oliver Ackermann’s (A Place To Bury Strangers/Death By Audio) new label Dedstrange, joining A Place To Bury Strangers on a roster with fellow Berlin punks Jealous and Data Animal. „It feels like a family forming” says Lloyd “we’re psyched to have this exchange and to collaborate. It feels like some new noise is in the works.”