Et al. dare you to describe their music as “art rock.” Or “art-damaged.” Or post-punk or post-post-punk or anything else, really. From the obstinately vague name to a snarky insistence on non-signifiers like “genrecore” and “musicwave,” Et al. show little patience for the prefix-dependent state of modern independent music. This isn’t just an artist’s version of music, though; it’s music that takes its artistic function seriously--but never too seriously. On one hand, this is meta-music. On the other, it’s just rock & roll.
Formed in Baltimore in 2012 by three lifelong musicians (and, yes, former art students), Et al. presents a particular sound, at once cohesive and reaching in many directions: the expression and experimentalism of 90s Dischord bands; the chiming flurry of Phil Manzanera’s work with Brian Eno; rhythmic traces of krautrock, dub, jazz, and hardcore. Their social, political, and aesthetic concerns run underneath, reflected in the push-pull tension between straightforward rocking and lush, otherworldly ambience. Bassist Quentin Gibeau and seemingly octopoid drummer Faith Bocian form an airtight rhythm section, their roiling throb providing both anchor and counterpoint to Spencer Compton’s skittering, reeling guitar and urgent vocals. Tone, pulse, and technique all shift dynamically and effortlessly throughout every song, each one as concise and composed as a manifesto.
With the full-length Et.Album under their belts and the single I Don't Even Know How To Represent Things on the way--recorded by Baltimore luminaries Chris Freeland (Oxes, Wye Oak, Double Dagger) and Chester Gwazda (Dan Deacon, Future Islands), respectively, and both released by Baltimore’s prolific Friends Records--Et al. boasts an impressive amount of material for such a young band. Live, they keep things tight and energetic, ripping through song after song with ease. Offstage, all three members devote considerable time and attention to working within the Baltimore community through large scale art projects, collective organizing and activism. Et al. push further into the 21st century with a desire to edify, provoke, and progress: this art isn’t damaged at all.
Et al.’s tracks