Los Angeles based post-punk band Moaning have been gaining traction in the DIY scene and recently released a stunning new album Uneasy Laughter. This is a follow-up to their first self-titled album released in 2018. Both albums have been released on Sup-Pop records.
Moaning consists of vocalist/guitarist Sean Solomon, bassist/keyboardist Pascal Stevenson and drummer Andrew MacKelvie, who’ve all known each other for over a decade. Fun fact: Sean Solomon is also the artist responsible for the “Not Our President” banner painting atop downtown DIY venue, The Smell – a piece that has resonated with DIY’ers and Angelenos alike for the past few years.
“We’ve known each other forever and we’re really comfortable trying to express where we’re at. A lot of bands aren’t so close,” MacKelvie said in an interview. Solomon adds his take on their Uneasy Laughter sessions, “Men are conditioned not to be vulnerable or admit they’re wrong. But I wanted to talk openly about my feelings and mistakes I’ve made.” These shared sentiments really shine through in Uneasy Laughter, which pulls from deep and vulnerable places lyrically and sonically.
One of my favorite songs “Stranger” has some of the most raw and depressing, but very real lyrics: “I hate myself, and I saw me in you,” which is probably the root cause of why most relationships don’t work out. The song itself really shines in the ominous vocal melody, shimmering synths and steady yet driving beat. Take a listen here:
…And there are quite a few more stand-out tracks on the album. “Connect the Dots” is another stunning song with beautifully layered instrumentation and has some serious new wave vibes come through in the chorus. Give it a listen here:
Uneasy Laughter was initially teased with a music video for their lead single “Ego.” The video was directed by Amber Navarro, who’s worked with indie hit artists like Soccer Mommy and Cuco. (I also noted The Paranoyds’ Staz Lindes cameo in the first scene, which was a neat crossover.) Both the video and song seem to be plucked right from the ’80s. Watch and continue down your path of obsession here:
Compared to Moaning’s 2018 debut self-titled album, Uneasy Laughter is more crisp and clear while it remains in their new-wave, ’80s and post-punk influences, thanks to the assistance of producer/engineer Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Bloc Party, Melvins). The new album has definitely been one of my favorites of the year, and thus has received a lot of play in my car and apartment.
Moaning is set to play with another one of my favorite post-punk bands, Black Marble at The Regent Theater on December 17, 2020. Let’s hope that for all our sakes there will be even better social distancing practices in place so we can all enjoy this show!