Perusing safekeeper’s previous EP On Sludge Summit it’s clear the band can be counted among the many new bands reviving the more raw, punk rock side of emo and indie. Their songs, which have an intentionally lo-fi quality, feature everything from jangling guitar riffs, searing distortion, soaring octave chords, trembling arpeggios, and vocals that range from anguished to uplifting. The band may have a sound that recalls the second wave of emo but they’re influenced by many other styles, most specifically classic ’90s indie rock like Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Pixies, and modern groups like Parquet Courts and Spirit of the Beehive – making it very difficult to nail their sound to just one genre or style.
On safekeeper’s latest track “NO SPACE IN TI_ME,” which we’re premiering today, the band shows off their dynamicism with a more subdued, slowcore style that recalls groups like Low and Seam. While it opens with some vocals, they quickly fade out of the mix to allow a slow, arepeggio riff to take over the lead lulling the listener in with its deliberate, reverb-y guitars.
A bit hard to put into words, and they’ve even spoken some new meanings into my life since I wrote them,” said Zachary Visconti about the song’s themes. “But, in general, it speaks to a world that determines its values from bullshit, and responds to it with questioning. It’s a call to action to recognize subjectivity, and the resulting chaos, though a lackluster one when considering the weight of existence and each of our tiny places in the history of the cosmos. It discusses feeling helpless, hopeless, and, ultimately, not feeling like there’s enough space for me or anyone else in this world, in spite of our smallness.”
“Releasing a little over a week after the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, I admit the song has taken on a new meaning for me,” he continued. “Floyd’s death is one example of far too many instances of racial injustice at the hands of law enforcement – they have felt helpless, hopeless, and voiceless for far too long and have not been allowed to take up any space in this history. Now is the time for us, the band, and white people in general, to take up less space, so that we can offer people of color the space in time they have long deserved, and this song will now act to me personally as a reminder of my own commitment to ending racial injustice. For now, safekeeper will turn inward to work for this lasting change, outward to share stories, ideas, and resources that black communities are advocating for while supporting and offering space and a platform to those who need it most.”
safekeeper have released two EPs, On Sludge Summit and Bummer Beach Bonanza. Visconti said that the band is currently working on a new full-length album. Unfortunately the lockdown measures taken to offset the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country has made it difficult for the band to work on music – though that’s allowed them to focus more on social justice activism.
“Most of us though, especially in the wake of recent events, have started to turn towards vocal activism in trying to raise awareness and offer a platform for black communities and people of color in general, and educating ourselves in this time at home to create a better future for everyone (and hopefully devoid of the prison-industrial complex, mass incarceration, and even police if we can manage it),” he said. “As far as band-specific stuff, just a little bit of planning – things are a little up in the air for the future right now as my wife has two autoimmune diseases and I won’t be going to shows anytime soon, though we have a lot of ideas and are committed to doing more in the future. We’re not done with this project, by any means, and we plan to start doing some writing here soon, just has taken a major backseat to the aforementioned matters which are so important right now, and will be from here on out.”