Rare Monk is a Portland, OR-based indie rock band. They are releasing their sophomore effort, Never Really Over in early 2021.
In 2015, Rare Monk released their apocalyptic-tinged self-titled EP, produced by Tom McFall (Weezer, Bloc Party, Snow Patrol, R.E.M.). Singles “Warning Pulse” and “California (Will Burn)” received considerable attention from the blogosphere, college radio, and streaming services such as Spotify. This was the follow-up to 2014’s widely lauded 7-inch “Splice/Sleep Attack”. The boutique record label, B3SCI Records, released both EPs.
In 2016 Rare Monk faced several lineup changes. Their original guitarist and violist left and the once 5-piece became a 4-piece with the addition of lead guitarist and vocalist Hugh Jepson. With the addition of Jepson, Rare Monk started focusing more on writing bigger guitar parts, duelling leads, and beautiful falsetto harmonies, cumulating in the self-release of their debut album “A Future” in 2017, which featured their most beloved track to date, “Happy Haunting”.
When the songs for “Never Really Over” were written and recorded between 2018-19, the future had not yet arrived. At the album’s core is a central thread of everpresent looming dread at the end of the world. Of the bursting of bubbles, of the decline and devolution of America back into the dark ages, of book burnings, witch hunts, of vapours only releasable by exsanguination. Of a surveillance state, of the demonization of science, of persecution at scale, of the normalization of greed, idiocy, cruelty, and death.
In the time it’s taken the band to start releasing these songs, so many of these at-the-time-hypothetical fears have already been realized, which makes the songs on “Never Really Over” feel more relevant than ever. Lead singer Dorian Aites has this to say about the future “Hope is definitely not lost, it’s just become more difficult. We’ll get through and hope the songs help.”