Apart from showing up first in the alphabetical order of band listings, it can be an inconvenient to use “Aa” as a band name. Think of Google Search, domain names and so on. Looking for French musician “M” is always very complicated, and this reporter had a hard time finding their official pages to get information on the band. The 4 guys in “Aa” pronounce their band name “Big A little a”.


Anyways, Aa is an art-rock ensemble that just launched their new album, entitled “ZebrAa”, their first for label Fire Talk. You’ll never guess it, the first song starts with Aaaa’s as they set the mood for the next eight songs! The Brooklyn-based band may not the most melodic band, but they are pretty good at creating ambiance that can carry lots of energy as they use crescendo on many songs, like Homecoming and Rank Zone, that actually starts with a lot of instruments being added one by one. No lyrics on this one. Only background chorus.

Aa is also remarkable by the amount of controlled chaos they can handle. Clocked is a pressure cooker that includes distorted guitars (I guess they are guitars…) on top of a tribal beat that continues throughout the song, even when things get calmer.

Most of the eight songs on “ZebrAa” are surprisingly short. Five of them don’t even reach the 3:30 mark. I say it is surprising because when listening to them, with all the crescendos and intensity, they sound longer. And I don’t mean this in a negative way. The main singer is a bit unsettling. He uses a tone that is aggressive, a bit like Trent Reznor or Edward Ka-Spel, of the Legendary Pink Dots.

In their press kit, Aa is called “one of the quintessential house bands of Brooklyn’s mid-aughts loft party/DIY scene” and is compared to DIY underground contemporaries such as Dan Deacon and Black Dice. “ZebrAa” is released tomorrow, November 25, 2016, and the first 150 vinyl copies are pressed on ice blue vinyl, hand numbered and include downloadable digital copy.

“ZebrAa” was written and performed by John Atkinson and Aron Wahl on electronic sounds and Mike Colin, Julian Bennett-Holmes, and Hank Shteamer on drums. It was recorded and produced by Aa and Jeremy Scott at the Civil Defense studios and Caley Monahan-Ward on Trash Hits.


(Fire Talk Records, 2016)

-Genre: art-rock
-In the same style as Suuns, Nine Inch Nails

Buy the album on the label’s site or on BandCamp
Follow the band via their Facebook page

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.