Pop. 1280
Slim’s, Raleigh
Monday, Feb. 22, 9 p.m., $5

Paradise, the third record from Pop. 1280, doesn’t celebrate the idea of utopia as much as it examines the concept’s implausibility. The Brooklyn industrial punks venture far beyond the conventional realms of those terms, splicing squalid synthesizers and jackboot drum machines onto the same sort of grating squall it sharpened for 2013’s The Imps of Perversion. Pop. 1280 evokes absurdist dread.

Lyrical gloom mirrors the totemic industrial drones, as vocalist Chris Bug unloads philippics against the ills of modern technology and the perceived dreams of our collective iPhone world. “Pain and pleasure won’t last forever,” he seethes during “Chromidia,” implying that neither will those who feel them.

Winter storms that slammed into New York forced Pop. 1280 to reschedule the release show for Paradise, like a confirmation of the doomsday tidings it brings. But not long after the band at last hit the stage, Bug and multi-instrumentalist Ivan Lip spoke about the record’s roots in public and personal darkness.


CHRIS BUG: It has a clear meaning for usalmost like hope and aggression at the same time. Like, maybe what’s going on right now isn’t good, but could it get better? It’s hope, but it’s a more cynical construction. Chances are we’re not going to actually make society that much better. Maybe at our pace, we’re going to destroy ourselves, whether it’s with clubs or Obama’s drone army.

IVAN LIP: For us, it’s also very personal.

CB: If you look at the lyrics, more of the lyrics are about personal failures or observationsthings we see on a daily basis. This isn’t a big diatribe about mass shootings or iPhones or whatever. If there’s something we’re critiquing, then chances are it’s something we’re noticing in ourselves as much as the people we’re critiquing.