The expressive, urgent rock of Detroit’s Protomartyr


Photo by Angel Ceballos |
Photo by Angel Ceballos |
Detroit rock and rollers Protomartyr were one of the hotly buzzed bands going into last week’s SXSW music conference and after eight shows in Austin, including sets during the Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan parties, they seemed to have delivered on the promise, Music critics from the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Austin Chronicle and others raved about their shows. With over 2,000 bands all vying for attention and hoping for the break at SXSW, Protomartyr, fronted by Joe Casey, seemed to capture some of SXSW’s best moments for musical discovery. Writing about them in his SXSW wrap up column for the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot said:

Protomartyr stripped back the postpunk innovations of such minimalists as early Public Image Ltd. and the Fall even further, with seething single-note guitar lines that crescendo with bass and drums. Vocalist Joe Casey is the guy at the end of the bar, talking as much as singing while glaring over the shoulder of guitarist Greg Ahee at some unseen nemesis. Is he talking about the noise in his city, Detroit, or inside his head, or a little of both? When he pops, it’s like that friendly bar fly suddenly turning on you, lunging at your collar because you’re not paying close enough attention.

Protomartyr have an expressive, taut, and urgent rock and roll sound, well represented by “Come & See,” that you can download below. Some call it “post-punk,” but it’s really just punk rock, filtered through several decades of unexpected influences like R. Kelly, and listening to records by Black Flag and Mark E. Smith. The band is releasing its new album, Under Color of Official Right on April 8th on Hardly Art Records. They play Kung Fu Necktie on Tuesday, April 15th.

Below, download “Come & See.”



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