May 25, 2022 2 min read
Say hello to the newest Get Better Recordsfamily member: screamo, post-hardcore band Sonagi!
But Sonagi is not just another screamo outfit; their approach to the genre uniquely builds off the group's members' musical and personal interests and experiences. Coming from shared and distinct creative and industrial paths in basement and warehouse DIY culture, bike messengering, and working-class city life, the band formed in the summer of 2019 with Ryann Slauson from the bandCloser (they/them, vocals,), Harim Jung (they/them, vocals/guitar), Michael Englisis (he/him, bass), and Keean Mansour (he/him, drums).
With a sound combining familiar, angular chaos with refreshing and innovative melody, Sonagi is the romanization of the Korean word 소나기 meaning “sudden showers.” The term is often used to describe brief and heavy rain, usually on hot summer afternoons during the monsoon season. Sonagi is also the title of a culturally significant 1959 short story by writer Han Sung-won about a young couple's love story in the Post-War and Pre-Industrial countryside. Like the fleeting torrential showers and nostalgic story in a haunting setting, Philadephia's Sonagi sonically and lyrically captures the dialectic interchanges between destruction and renewal, grief and recovery.
On May 25, the band kicks off their signing to Philadephia-based queer and trans-owned indie label Get Better Records with the release of the single "Ambivalence." It is the first track of their debut LP,Precedent, out July 22.
With memorable melodic presence, "Ambivalence" is a pummeling and heart-wrenching anthem with no respite. The primary guitar melody shines throughout with variance in rhythmic form and emotional energy, alongside drums interplaying with feverish intensity and inflection. "Ambivalence" is inspired by corporations utilizing business speak to create a charade of care and support between employer and employee - rules and values ultimately bent towards profit, not people. “We all outstay our welcome” is a cynical comment on the futile search for comfort and acceptance; eventually we end up showing hidden, unsavory sides of ourselves which can only lead to departures.
Precedent is the debut collection of songs from Philadelphia screamo and melodic post-hardcore group Sonagi. The overall sonic approach of the album aims to capture movement between cathartic release and respite along a continuum of emotional reactivity and contemplation through the interplay of melody, structure, and form. This is reflected in the juxtaposition of sections with layers of overdriven guitars, blast-beats, and screamed vocals with sections of heavily reverberated melodies and introspective moments. The record includes driving parts in unison with abrasive harmonic progressions, intertwined with polyphonic sections of distinct melodic elements heard in each vocal and instrumental voicing.
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