Posted on July 8th, 2020
[as seen on The Fader]
In January 2017, the cult-adored Boston-based trio Krill explained in a Facebook post why they’d broken up two years prior. “The indie rock world skews upper-middle class, male, and white,” they wrote. “It can feel political and leftist and radical, but it often fails to spur real action. People sell engagement in this community as inherently countercultural, oppositional, and antagonistic to power. It's not.”
Rather than continuing to participate in that scene, they’d decided to take direct action. Bassist and singer Jonah Furman had gone to work in the labor movement, eventually landing as the National Labor Organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Drummer Ian Becker had moved to Texas to take a job in public housing. Guitarist Aaron Ratoff had gone to study civil rights law.
“A lot of people who liked Krill[...] liked it because it was implicitly radical — emotionally, aesthetically,” they wrote. “Well, now is a really good time to start being explicitly radical.”
Three years later, after handful of false starts, Furman, Becker, and Ratoff have reunited, brought in an extra member, and recorded a new LP under the name Knot. The four-piece’s self-titled debut is due out August 28 via Exploding in Sound, and lead single “Foam” is premiering below. It’s immediately clear from “Foam” that a few things have changed since the Krill days — Furman has switched to guitar alongside newcomer (and fellow labor activist) Joe DeManuelle-Hall, and the songs sound cleaner, tenser, more nervy.
But that same radical impulse — the one that had hardcore fans dissecting the existential questions at the root of Krill’s albums, the one that the one that meant thousands of them probably really were interested in being “explicitly radical” — remains. On Knot, as the songs clatter and stagger forwards, Furman sings about justice and collective destiny with the resolve of someone who’s not only thought about such concepts, but tried to realize them. Where Krill concerned themselves with ethics and morality, with Furman howling his unanswerable questions in warbled couplets, Knot are more politically frustrated. "Was my father right when he said, 'Maybe we are all just evil motherfuckers'?" Furman sings on "Foam." "I believe in people's power, but not at this late hour, personally."
On the phone from a beach about an hour south of Boston, Furman explained what brought the band back together, the “more mature” approach to music that comes with paying part-time, and what he hopes to achieve with these more politically minded songs.