In our Spring 2020 Issue we launched a new music feature, Emerging. If you’ve been wondering what to listen to lately or perused Spotify and social media searching for the next emerging band that would restore your faith in The State of Music, this feature is for you. We checked in with a few of the bands we think have a unique voice in the musical landscape to inspire a new generation of concert-goers and record-buyers alike. In this Auxiliary Online Content you’ll find more background and photos on each band, this time we are focusing on Blu Anxxiety.
Chi ‘Dracula O’ Orengo : Vocals
Justin Schmidt : Guitar and synth
Robert Hoffman : Guitar and synth
Blu Anxxiety is an anomaly. Vocalist “Dracula O” delivers scathingly honest lyrics juxtaposed with humorous song titles and storylines atop synths and occasional guitar courtesy of Justin Schmidt and Robert Hoffman. Their sound has the synth-laden rawness and passion of early Skinny Puppy and Ministry with the dark humor of Alien Sex Fiend. They are notable for being one of the few bands who understand the interplay between making music that is confrontational while injecting their own unique sense of spooky humor into the music and lyrics. As for the beginnings of the Blu Anxxiety, Justin told us, “We wanted to make a band with a new type of sound that had influences of goth/industrial, hip hop, and freestyle, but with a political message centered around police and prison abolition, indigenous resistance, and dismantling white supremacy. ” It’s challenging to make important issues appealing and danceable for an audience but Blu Anxxiety delivers with lyrical metaphors that ultimately show how art is political.
On their live performances, the band describes their energy and intention, saying, “We make aggressive electronic music and we make it political with pretty wild confrontational performances at times. We try to only play all ages shows and support DIY venues and bookers rather than be part of the larger bar scene and entertainment industry. Because of that, we attract people of all ages and genres from noisers and raw punks to candy flipping dance kids. ”
Justin’s solo project, X Harlow, further explores the sociopolitical issues also seen in Blu Anxxiety’s lyrical content. From the press release for X Harlow’s debut full-length, “It pulls at the thread of a world assured of its own safety, challenging human inclinations towards self-assurance and optimism, instead asking how one might respond to an inevitable societal fracture and collapse.”
If you’re a fan of deathrock and postpunk, you’ll recognize Chi’s vocals: he’s the former vocalist of New York City quartet Anasazi. Check out one of the tracks from their self-released (with the assistance of Inflammable Material) Nuke York 2013 Demo.
Another reason why Blu Anxxiety is a notable band: their understanding of aesthetics and how important visual imagery is to further reinforce the message of their music. As for influences, the band cites, “Aesthetically, we love and take a lot of influence from campy horror movies, street life in New York, John Waters, drag, graffiti, and vandalism. ”
May I present the video for “Baptized in Space”, a glorious accompaniment to a song worthy of any dancefloor (when we can get back to them without social distancing) in the spirit of local-access or A/V Club in the BEST WAY.
…and followed by the video for “Cats Eye and Corpse”. I’m mesmerized.
A few more, just because…
Follow Blu Anxxiety on Instagram for updates. Justin does a solo industrial project called X Harlow and Chi plays in a new punk band called Children With Dog Feet. Also, Chi runs a streetwear company 1 800 POSSESSED.