Photo by Robin Dupuy
The Pacific Northwest has maintained a well-earned reputation as the epicenter of the rock and indie rock scene since the grunge explosion of the ’90s. So, it makes sense that the tastemakers of the world are again looking to Seattle and Portland to find the newest musical revolution being fomented by men and women flaunting their distorted guitars, battered drum kits, and shredded vocal chords. One band that’s leading the charge is a quartet with a name as unrelenting and powerful as their music: Absolute Monarchs
Inspired by the raw, meaty sound of indie stalwarts like the Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu, and The Monorchid, the Monarchs have been cutting a wide swathe through the cluttered music scene of their hometown ever since their first show two years ago at the Capitol Hill Block Party.
That opening salvo was a warning shot across the bow of the folksy, rustic approach that far too many Seattle groups have been approximating to critical and commercial acclaim. The quartet – Joel Schneider (vocals/bass/keyboards), Shawn Kock (guitars), Miki Sodos (guitars), and Mike Stubz (drums) – pumps out lean, sinewy blasts of detuned guitars, neck snapping drums, and impassioned vocals that feels like electric shocks to the coccyx.
In the two years since they dazzled a Block Party audience, the Absolute Monarchs have logged time on stage opening for Red Fang, Les Savy Fav, and Cold Cave. They’ve also been handpicked to play Seattle Weekly’s REVERB Festival, and chosen as one of the 10 best local bands of 2010 by CityArts Magazine.
Now that they’ve captured the attention of Seattle music fans, the Monarchs are ready to spread their hard-charging gospel far and wide. The band is entering the studio to knock out their first full-length album to be released at the beginning of 2012. [RH]
“Absolute Monarchs’ mashup of styles seems so natural, effortless, and effective that it almost makes one wonder why no one’s attempted this particular blend before.” – BRIAN COOK, THE STRANGER
“One of the bands I’m really excited about right now—I think they have so much talent—and I don’t know how huge, if they’re gonna be the next big Death Cab for Cutie, I don’t think so, but Absolute Monarchs is incredible.” – CHERYL WATERS, KEXP
“… [Absolute Monarchs] balance loose discordance with well-anchored melodic hooks delivered with genuine emotion and
energy.” – CITY ARTS MAGAZINE
“…a tightly refined sound that teeters between blaring innovation and reappropriating the dissonance created by indie crews like Jesus Lizard or The Monorchid, with bits of Sonic Youth and Dead Kennedys thrown in. The band utilizes heavy-handed drumming, crunchy guitars, snarling vocals, and, of course, waves of properly disbursed feedback to annihilate ear drums.” – CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND
“Deep, double guitars provide structure for 1′s driving refrains and solid hooks, and along with Joel Schneider’s snarled vocals and Michael Stubz’ bang-up drum play, make one hell of a racket.” – SEATTLE WEEKLY
“This Seattle band’s debut full-length is a ferocious, riff-heavy blend of aggressive post-punk, Fugazi post-hardcore and noisy indie-rock, with dual heavy, angular guitars, pummeling rhythms, bellowing lead vocals courtesy of Joel Schneider and sharp, often surprisingly melodic, song hooks.” – DON YATES, KEXP
“Heavy drinking and daredevil technique add up to palpable danger in Absolute Monarchs. The Seattle quartet unleash a torrential thunderfuck that crashes math rock’s meticulous timing and breakneck changes against sleazy, pheromone-fueled bluster.” – SPIN.COM
The first time I saw Absolute Monarchs, they were playing a Capitol Hill Block Party show in the Cha Cha basement sandwiched between vintage-y folk collectives, raucous drunk punk bands and metal bands. This is one of those bands that doesn’t fit comfortably in any existing genre or scene in town. They balance loose discordance with well-anchored melodic hooks delivered with genuine emotion and energy. It’s rad to see them silence a noisy, unsuspecting bar crowd of hip-hop fans one night, and crusty punk kids the next. They’re an undeniably awesome new band. — BEN VERELLEN, OWNER, VERELLEN AMPS
“The bending, dirty notes that lead into the opening track ‘Attack’ pretty much set the tone for an aggressive slice of post-ATD-I fury that draws from Mudhoney, Quicksand and Fugazi, an onslaught on the ears and senses that simmers with energy.” – BIG TEA BLOG
“The Absolute Monarchs are another awesomely loud group from Seattle. Born two years ago, the band merges such great sounds as post-punk, post-hardcore, indie rock, and a little pop into a hard-driving din that is totally their own.” – VERBICIDE MAGAZINE