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The Downtown Club: New Wave Redux.

December 14, 2012

TheDowntownClub01smallText and images by Greta Iverson.

The Downtown Club is a darker New Wave band, with influences drawn from the punk and New Wave scenes of the 70s and 80s.

Singer/guitartist/keyboard player April Harkanson, who was raised by an 86-year-old former nun, admits she’s influenced by the vocals of Siouxsie Sioux. Harkanson says she is very impressed by the sounds Sioux makes without actually singing. Bassist Travis Regan, who served as Schoolly D’s road DJ, remarks with a smile that he’s most influenced by The Clash and other dance-oriented punk musicians.

“He’s obsessed,” Harkanson whispers before Regan can say anything else.

Harkanson and Regan experimented with other drummers before finding Dan Welsh. “When Dan entered the picture, he really helped define our aesthetic,” Regan says.

“I like to play music that I like, with people who I like,” Welsh demures.

The familial vibe from the young, Fishtown-based band, which formed in 2011, is overpowering. Regan and Harkanson, in particular, have a brother/sister-type relationship, with definite “I hate you” moments.

“Travis can be really into it,” Harkanson says of their music, “but I’m much more laid back about it. Dan is the moderator. He’s in the middle.”

They dropped a five-song, self-titled EP in June that is full of dreamy, danceable, richly-layered, post-punk melodies and Harkanson’s commanding vocals. It was co-produced by Jeff Zeigler, who has worked with Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs.

The bandmates admit that their first EP was not very definitive to their message or their genre but they felt rushed to produce something. Now that they have a better idea of who they are and what they want to say, they’ll return to the studio with Zeigler in December.


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