Must-See FYF Fest Undercard: Preoccupations — fine crafted disorienting melodic rock propulsions

Preoccupations viet cong

Photo Credit: Alessio Boni

Why You Need to See Preoccupations at FYF!

Words: Steven Ward

FYF Fest 2016 is just three days away! Rolling out yet another must-see act that lives on the lower lines of the stacked FYF bill, you really need to get in on this action. Pull that schedule back out, it’s time to add a new addition.

This week’s featured FYF undercard is Preoccupations.

Hailing from arguably one of the most beautiful natural wonders in North America, Alberta, you’d think initially that Preoccupations would have to be some sort of twittering, Bon Iver-esque group of bearded folk artists. While guitarist Scott “Monty” Monroe certainly has the fearsome beard down, the Canadian four-piece is anything but a folk band; self-described as post-punk, Preoccupations craft disorienting melodic rock propulsions.

Behind a wall of blaring electric guitars, Matt Flegel’s sends out his droning murmurs which skid between dizzying synths and corkscrewed riffs, and on songs like “Continental Shelf,” his ferocious shouts are joined by a harmony of eerie background vocalizations. At times taking hints from 80-90’s rock, like on the buzzing eruption of brazen electrics that is “Silhouettes,” Preoccupations occasionally dips its guitars and synthesizer duties into The Cure-era fervor, while also holding onto an undertow of jangle-rock that echoes contemporaries like Ex Hex. Full of potent energy, with songs that rush forward on an adrenaline rushing percussiveness (“Degraded”), Flegel’s hypnotizing hums coupled with the band’s grating distortions are poised to make quite the impact when they hit the stage later this August. If their music doesn’t (which it will), their name certainly will, even though the band changed their name to Preoccupations following anger over the “racist” associations of Viet Cong, the band still remains informally known as Viet Cong.

Preoccupations perform at FYF Fest on Sunday, August 28 at 3 p.m. on the Lawn Stage. The band’s highly anticipated, self-titled LP is out September 16 via Jagjaguwar. You can preorder the album here.

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Watch Preoccupations’ new video for “Degraded”

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