I’ll be honest. I haven’t been listening to many new bands lately.
In lieu of my duties as a DJ, I’ve mostly been streaming dreamy 80s pop. I find that the musical works of Duran Duran, Naked Eyes and Kajagoogoo are just enough to distract me from the sense of melancholia that emerges during the early winter.
Although I didn’t take the opportunity to compile an assortment of new bands over winter break, I did manage to stumble upon an group slowly gaining more prominence in the dark music scene.
Based in Phoenix, Tassel is a musical project “embracing pentecostal origins, punk ethos, unabashed queerness and the allure of mystery.”
The band released their first single in 2021. Titled “Steel Patch,” the track features upbeat instrumentals with droning, dispassionate vocals. Their sound reminded me of French Police, one of my most beloved post-punk bands.
Tassel calls its music “industrial liturgy,” a term which I took as an incovation of the band’s aim to sublimate ritual in music.
Other bands have taken on a similar goal, such as the aptly-named Liturgy. However, while Liturgy’s ritualism is evident in the band’s sprawling, hypnotic rhythms, I struggled to situate this concept within Tassel’s music.
That was, until I listened to some of their more recent material.
Tassel’s two most recent releases, “NEW COVENANT” and “OLD COVENANT,” are more darkwave and industrial than post-punk. Cold, metallic and entrancingly distorted, these two albums are more in the realm of Male Tears or Skinny Puppy than French Police. There’s more drama, more sensuality and far more emotion.
Tracks from both albums feature vast expanses of experimentalism, presenting a raw and unabashed sound.
While it seems Tassel originally branded itself as a post-punk group, it’s clear that its stylistic progression has led down the route of EBM and industrial. It’s clear to me from what I’ve consumed so far that the band is adept at cultivating both subgenres of sound.
While Tassel is still relatively new to the scene, I certainly look forward to the band’s future projects.