NYC Guitar Freaks A Place to Bury Strangers Offers Up Loud-Psych Devotions on New Single, “Change Your God”

A Place to Bury Strangers have share the first in a series of previously unreleased tracks | Devon Bristol Shaw, courtesy of the artist (cropped)

Routinely hailed as “the loudest band in New York City,” A Place to Bury Strangers — when they’re not violating sound ordinances in the five boroughs — has been issuing deceptively simple yet consistently psych-friendly guitar pummel for twenty years and counting. Founded and fronted by singer-guitarist Oliver Ackermann, the band has released dozens of multi-format records, with an apparent emphasis on the EP and two-song single offering.

Routinely compared to The Jesus and Mary Chain and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, with “Change Your God” Ackerman and the current lineup of APTBS (bassist John Fedowitz and drummer Sandra Fedowitz) thread together the dispassionate motorik tempo of early ‘70s Krautrock and the laconic vibrato of Spacemen 3; even the lysergic shadow of the underrated gothidelia of early Bauhaus. Anchored by a glassy, rudimentary and driving rhythm from the Fedowitz bass-and-drums underpinning, “Change Your God” is seasoned by Ackermann’s evident glee, lobbing thick chunks of Phil Manzanera guitar shrapnel, rising and falling tremolo, and other processed six-string electronic sorcery. The de facto chorus, “this is the sound / breaking the wall” is buffered by even more slabs of mutated guitar by Ackermann. 

Running parallel to the routine indie accessory-compulsion of owning more albums than could be played over the course of several lifetimes, boutique and DIY musical gear is a prominent facet of the contemporary music scene. Concurrent with his musical activities, Ackermann owns and operates Death by Audio, a boutique effects-pedal company whose stompboxes have been used by musicians as divergent as Ty Segall, Lou Reed, U2, Wilco, the Flaming Lips and Radiohead.

Armed with Ackermann’s obvious passion for inventive guitar rock, and the evident know-how of a mad scientist intent on evolving the actual sound of music, “Change Your God” is a welcome berserker from the DIY laboratory of A Place to Bury Strangers.

“Change Your God” is out digitally today. It’s the first installment of The Sevens, a series of four 7-inch vinyl records released each month from now through April. Stream/order here.

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