Meet Maniac, the well-dressed bruisers with hearts of fire for the end times. The group seems like punk band out of a William Gibson novel, they know the smell of polite society turning awful. Lyrically, Maniac are pretty vehement about the decline of the west. They protest the death-whimper of the world itself, roaring and lashing out in their Molotov cocktails of songs.
The band has four songwriters, Zache Davis (bass and lead vocals), Justin Maurer (vocals and guitars), Andrew Zappin (guitar), and James Carman (drums and backing vocals). Davis says of his tracks, “‘City Lights’ is really about the annoying dudes on the boardwalk who try to sell you their CDs. ‘Neutral Libido’ is post-relationship wave vibes mixed into a night of perceived bliss that ended in emptiness, and ‘Living in Stereo’ is a failed relationship.” He extrapolated, “Most of the songs I wrote are about a failing relationship, loss, and self-depreciation and realization; with some sprinkles of characters who play frisbee golf and some who lost money on a prostitute.”
For his contributions, Zappin infuses his compositions with hooks, stating that “I’ll toss in some oddball chord variations here and there to tweak what are otherwise pretty classic progressions. The same goes for songs to which I contributed parts. I try to serve the vision, put a little of myself into the thing. Ultimately, no matter who wrote it, everyone has a hand and all songs become MANIAC songs.”
Dead Dance Club was recorded at Station House Studios in Echo Park by Mark Rains; the band produced the album with Maurer taking a strong hand. The album out today is being released by Portland punk labels Hovercraft and Dirt Cult Records. As for Maurer’s own writing: “It’s current Los Angeles meets classic 70s/80s films like Blade Runner, Drive, Chinatown, LA Confidential, Over the Edge, Karate Kid, Lost Boys come to mind. My tunes come out of feelings of alienation, loneliness, heartbreak, restlessness, sexual frustration. ‘Children of the Dirt’ is about ‘Lost Boys’-Peter Pan type tribal kids in a ‘Lord of the Flies’ situation. ‘Post Post World’ is about post-irony, how contemporary society doesn’t believe in anything anymore.” Dead Dance Club is whip-smart rock ‘n’ roll art created out of their surrounding milieu: “I love West Coast lit, film noir, and Latin languages,” Maurer admits, “the mix of cultures in Los Angeles. Where else would you have Koreans eating Salvadoran food across from an Armenian kebab shop and a Thai grocery store?”
James Carman’s fever-pitch drumming infuses MANIAC’s music with crisp, rhythmic urgency and sophisticated flourishes. His angelic vocal harmonies are one of the stylistic backbones of Dead Dance Club.
A punk pop-rock band of both class and working-class rage, they’re having one last raving party watching the voracious American consumer society edge ever nearer to consume us all.
You can also check out MANIAC’s new video for their scorching single “City Lights!”
06.09.18 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hi Hat (Record Release Show)
06.14.18 – San Francisco, CA @ Light Rail Studios
06.15.18 – Corvallis, OR @ Bombs Away
06.16.18 – Portland, OR @ Green Noise Records (6 pm) AND Lay Low Tavern
06.17.18 – Tacoma, WA @ The Valley
06.18.18 – Bellingham, WA @ Boscoe’s Tavern
06.19.18 – Vancouver, BC @ The Astoria
06.20.18 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
06.21.18 – Portland, OR @ Blackwater
06.22.18 – Eureka, CA @ Siren’s Song Tavern
06.23.18 – Oakland, CA @ Golden Bull