Music » Band of the Week

Band of the Week: Public Squares



MEET THE BAND: Thuck Apton (via human vessel Brandon M. Abate, drums, vocals), Regulus Nine (via human vessel Steven Manko, bass), Dr. Rex Reezin (via human vessel Bill Kowalcic, guitar, additional vocals)

IT STARTED AS A SOLO PROJECT: Drawing from new wave and punk, Public Squares formed in 2014. "I started it as a project by myself," says Abate, who previously played in the local group Living Stereo. "I tried to start something with other people, but the bands kept sputtering. It was driving me crazy that I couldn't get it together." He cut a couple of EPs himself and, about a year ago, he put together a new lineup that featured guys from his '90s band Sidecar. "They're incredibly talented musicians, and they were interested in what I was writing," he says. "I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound and had even bought the guitar amps I wanted them to use."

ALIEN ALIASES: The band members all have alien alter egos, and Abate says that's because he decided to listen to the "voice in his head" that tells him to pursue his passion no matter how wacky it might be. "I'm not trying to please outside forces or appease a certain fan base," he says. "I just wanted to do something conceptual. I grew up on bands that seemed otherworldly. I grew up on Queen and Devo. Devo never even called themselves a band. They called it an art project. That was so cool to me."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Recorded and mixed at their own Chateau Du Mal Voisin studio and mastered by Jason Livermore at the Blasting Room studio — which is owned by friend and fan Bill Stevenson of the Descendents/All/Black Flag — the band's new album, NWR&P, features six blistering songs. Pressed on a custom-cut, square 8-inch record, the album will have a limited run of only 500. "We've always recorded at home since I started doing it," says Abate. "I don't run a studio commercially. I only record my own stuff. I never had a lesson on any instrument, let alone recording." The album's spastic opening tune, "Your Mental Illness is Bumming Me Out," features quivering vocals and angular guitar riffs. "Every time I start a session, I learn from the last one and what I liked about the previous one," Abate says when asked about the band's approach on the album. "We single track the guitars, and I record the drums as simply as possible. I tune them, so they sound like drum machine drums. There are no triggers. I like that slow, slash-y snare sound. I love late '70s recordings. That's where recording technology peaked, in my opinion. I'm always trying to make a record that sounds as good as those."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Public Squares perform with Obnox and Lords of the Highway at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at Now That's Class.

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