Kal Marks emerged a little over a decade ago as a solo project of singer/guitarist Carl Shane born of evolving experiments in songwriting and recording. But the full band developed around the house show and DIY scene in Boston around the turn of the 2000s into the 2010s and its sound would be difficult to pin down to an established style except that as its releases came out you could hear the fingerprints of punk, emo, noise rock, ambient music, collage pop and post-punk. Out of all of that was a band whose lyrics seemed informed by a frustration with the warped social and economic order and its impact on everyone’s everyday lives down to a very granular level. The intense vulnerability and inverted aggression of the live show is thrilling and disarming at once and its music is dense of creative musical ideas and an engaging energy that’s impossible to ignore. Over the last decade or so Kal Marks has released several albums and EPs that have given raw and poetic observations on working class existence and the looming challenges we all face and how difficult the weight of the likely possibilities of life in the near future can be to bear with bleak obvious prospects. And yet this music is both honest in those emotions and meets it with an inspirational ferocity. The new record My Name Is Hell (2022) came about when Shane had to assemble a new incarnation of the band when the earlier Kal Marks trio split in 2020. He was approached by friend and drummer Dylan Teggart of NYC noise punks A Deer A Horse and second guitarist Christina Puerto of also NYC based post-punk greats Bethlehem Steel and rounded up the lineup with bassist John Russell. The new album feels like a continuation of the ideas Shane had been developing all along as well as a rebirth with the benefit of two guitars in the mix allowing for an expanded atmospheric and dynamic range and seemingly allowing for Shane to stretch out a little more as a vocalist. It’s yet another remarkable offering in an already impressive catalog.
We had a chance to speak with Carl Shane by phone in the first leg of its 2022 USA tour and you can listen to that interview on Bandcamp. For all things Kal Marks please visit the group’s Instagram page where you can find a LinkTree in the bio to find out where to get a hold of its releases and keep track of its news and live events.