POW! - Shift



  1. Connecting

  2. Obedient Worm

  3. Dream Decay

  4. Free The Floor

  5. Peter

  6. Here It Comes

  7. Machine Animal

  8. Metal & Glue

  9. Night Nurse

  10. No World

  11. Scissors


Built around angular shards of guitar, propulsive rhythms, and plenty of oscillating synthesizers, the San Francisco band POW! capture and combine the nervy side of new wave and the poppier parts of post-punk. The result can be heard on a series of albums made for Castle Face Records that start off weird and arty (Hi-Tech Boom) and get progressively cleaner and catchier, until they jump back to the avant-garde side of the tracks on 2019's Shift. The band formed in 2011, when guitarist/vocalist Byron Blum decided to form a band and reached out to two recent acquaintances, Melissa Blue and Matt Harrison. Neither was skilled at playing their instruments -- drums and synth, respectively -- and it gave the band a simple, stripped-down sound that sounded like a low-rent Devo or a jumpier Units.

They played shows around the Bay Area, then released a single in 2011 ("Pretend There") for Afterlife Records. More shows and woodshedding followed until they were discovered by John Dwyer, the head of Castle Face Records and leader of Thee Oh Sees. He asked them to make a record, they did, and the resulting lo-fi, hi-energy Hi-Tech Boom was released in early 2014. By this time Harrison was no longer in the band, his place taken by Aaron Diko. The band also put out another single that year ("One Eyed Scorpion") for Glazer Records and added a new member, drummer Seth Sutton (who was in the band Useless Eaters with Blum). This move allowed Blue to play synthesizer alongside Diko. POW! toured, then hit the studio with producer Chris Woodhouse. The resulting album, Fight Fire, turned out to be a much cleaner, sleeker affair and was released by Castle Face in early 2015. By the time they released their next album, on which they again worked with Woodhouse, Sutton had left the band and Justin Sullivan joined. Crack an Egg, which took the sound of the previous record and polished it a little more, was released in early 2017, again by Castle Face.

The band's next album, Shift, was produced by Thomas Dolas (of Thee Oh Sees and Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel) and featured the drumming talents of Cameron Allen of Froth, but not Diko (who had left the band.) On it, the band edged away from the relatively poppy sound of their recent past and headed in a noisier, more aggressive direction. ~ Tim Sendra, Rovi