Monograms is the nom de plume of multi-instrumentalist Ian Jacobs, which takes an experimental approach to alternative music. While it pushes the boundaries of conventional rock, there are plenty of hooks and atmosphere to draw in the listener. Today we’re pleased to premiere the latest single from the Brooklyn-based musical project, an ominous track called “Sounds Like Mean Spirit.”
Based around a determined bassline and a serpentine guitar lead, Jacobs’ fuzzed-out voice spits out lines like “nothing ever changes / nothing stays the same.” The song gradually builds up steam through the chorus, only to complete release the energy to begin the verse again from scratch, building once again from a sparse bass. An immediate reference point for this dark and experimental take on rock is fellow Brooklynites A Place to Bury Strangers, though there’s plenty to separate Monograms from their peers.
“When I wrote ‘Sounds Like Mean Spirit,’ I had just started sorta writing the album and was thinking about previous decades when the creative landscape of things was a bit different,” said Jacobs. “It’s awesome having things be so accessible now but the internet, influencers and social media has really changed the way artists make stuff and fans appreciate them. Living in that world can sometimes create a negative outlook on things, for people trying to focus on the art which is what should be most important. That pressure some artists put on themselves has always been there but it can be tricky to block that other stuff out sometimes, which is a common thread throughout the album…. So the song title is literal -but also a nod to that era.”
You can catch Monograms performing “Sounds Like Mean Spirit” at their record release show in late September. They’ll be playing Sep. 21 at The Broadway along with Big Bliss, Russian Baths and Jelly Kelly. Living Wire, the band’s new album, will be released on Sep. 20 on Papercup Music.