Are you by any chance interested in some death-obsessed Peruvian electropunk?
If so, I have good news for you. Go to Bandcamp and download “Recursos Inhumanos” by Varsovia. Is their name a Joy Division reference? From the sound of things, almost certainly, though we shamefully poor Spanish language skills have kept the band largely mysterious otherwise.
I’ve always been more goth-adjacent than a true devotee, more interested in bands on the edges of that scene, which is another way of saying bands with broader commercial appeal. But if you are the kind of gothic act whose bio name-checks the bands Suicide and Kraftwerk right up front, I am probably going to be interested, visions of elaborately buckled boots and intense eyeliner applications swimming up before me alongside rows of tape-driven mainframes.
Varsovia sits right at the confluence of punk rock, bleak outlooks and synthesizers. Among other things, this record reminds me a lot of The Normal, aka British music producer Daniel Miller, who put out a single two-song EP in 1978 (and a later live album I’ve never heard) that pursued similar sounds. Those two songs feel potently futuristic even today, inspired as they were by the writing of the similarly forward-looking JG Ballard. Of course, there’s a difference between writing a song titled something like “The Death Squad” in London and writing it in Lima. I can only imagine Varsovia’s grim song titles, and indeed this record’s whole mood, are making a stronger statement than a listener like me will pick up at first.
Varsovia has the advantage of several decades of technological advance, but though “Recursos Inhumanos” is a more varied and layered composition, it still feels, if not minimalistic exactly, at least highly focused. There’s also a kind of Le Tigre vibe, especially in the vocals; the lead, Sheri Corleone, goes for it, and doesn’t leave much on the table. At just seven tracks (plus a couple of live cuts and a remix) this isn’t a record that really slows down. You could play it at a club, but it wouldn’t be the kind of joint you’d just wander into for a drink after work.
A quick word on the business of listening to songs in the 21st century: It is quite possible you’ve heard at least one song from this band, playing over the closing credits of HBO’s “Los Espookys” pilot, a fun reverse “Scooby- Doo ”tale. It’s a show I would more confidently recommend if I had gotten around to the second episode yet. It is on my list, honest, but while I have not yet revisited the show I did immediately track down the song, “Ellos quieren sangre,” which has led me to suggesting you do the same.
• Simon Sizer is the legal and obituary clerk at the Yakima Herald-Republic. He’s constantly prattling on about music, so we gave him this column.