Issue August 4, 2010

Breakneck Speed

Cults accelerate, prep new album

Since February, when they posted two homespun songs on Bandcamp, Cults, the New York duo of Brian Oblivion and girlfriend Madeline Follin, have thrown a band together on no notice for their maiden tour, fielded annoying questions from rock writers, filmed a video for Adult Swim, and generally avoided the whiplash that comes from being an “it” group.

“We just had to put everything on fast forward,” Oblivion says en route to a show in Lawrence, Kan., from Houston. “We only practiced for a month before our first show; we’ve only been a band for three months before our first tour.”

After their first gig, the van broke down in California in 104-degree weather. Kudos to Bob, the AAA mechanic who fixed ’em up. He wanted to know what music they played; Cults lied and said the blues. “We thought that’s what he wanted to hear,” Oblivion laughs. After the second show, Follin’s sore throat developed into strep. “We started out on a pretty low note, but we’re coming back.”

Oblivion and Follin had only fun in mind when they penned a couple of ethereal pop numbers on their Bandcamp site. “Go Outside” is snappy and harmless until you realize Follin’s near-soprano lilt overlays samples of speeches given by cult leader Jim Jones.

Adult Swim stumbled upon them and invited the band to submit a song for a singles compilation. Oblivion lied and said they had one ready, and then the two rushed to Follin’s stepdad’s recording studio in upstate New York and finished “OMG” in a day. They were the first ones to turn in their submission, Adult Swim gave them a treatment for a video and then shot it on a Brooklyn soundstage. “It was like a Kanye West video shoot,” Oblivion says.

“Go Outside” and “Most Wanted” appear on a vinyl 45 single from Forest Family, and a full-length album is in the works. “We’re experimenting with more hi-fi sounds,” Oblivion says. “We had a lot of songs from those same sessions. We want to keep the album cohesive and not treat our first record like our sophomore record.”

Cults, OK Deejays, Nerves Jr.
Wednesday, Aug. 4
Zanzabar
2100 S. Preston St. • 635-ZBAR
www.cults.bandcamp.com
$5; 9 p.m.