Timeless sensibility and frenetic madness are the two main ingredients for the prog- punks of Old Monk. The trio crafts songs with both a keen sense for classic pop melodies and an insatiable urge to push indie-pop into unexpected territory. The origins of the band date back to 2009 when guitarist Joshua Carrafa and drummer Ian Burns were writing songs and swapping demos over the internet between New York and Colorado. Ian Burns moved to New York later that year, and the two enlisted bassist Tsugumi Takashi to form Old Monk. The band released their debut album Birds of Belize in 2012, and toured the country extensively. Old Monk continued to play shows in the northeast and released several new singles in 2013, for which Joshua Carrafa created 8-bit animated music videos. This year they are releasing their follow up record: Posing As Love.
Posing As Love showcases a new side of Old Monk. While their previous work has been recorded as a reflection of their raucous and chaotic live shows, Posing As Love features the band delving deeper into developing both their songcraft and their recording process. Recorded at Vibromonk Studios in Brooklyn, the band takes on the most enduring of all subject matters: love.
Many things present themselves as love, and Old Monk explores this idea in their lyrics. The opener “Alta Rush” is a love song devoted to the state of California, “Art Heist” is a song about how the love of art can turn a person into a criminal, and “Running Boards/Promethea” shows the darker side of love and drowning.
Musically, the songwriting is rooted in catchy melodies and poppy choruses. But Old Monk’s love for proggy twists and turns is not lost. The moment they suck you in with a catchy hook is the moment they yank it away to take you the next level of the song.
Above all, Posing As Love is both an indie-pop record that can’t help being progressive, and a progressive-punk record that can’t help being poppy.
In this video, Old Monk gets locked in a house, turned into robots and forced to perform for nobody as their fleeting memory of their former human lives fades until their inevitable self-destruction.