*The Following Press Release Was Issued By Earshot Media*
|Quiet Panic Signs Los Angeles-Based Artist Tennis System|
Full-Length Album ‘Autophobia’ Out Now
The Unlikely Bedroom Project Of A Feral Live Musician
Credit: Marcus Russell Price
|Quiet Panic has signed LA’s acclaimed Tennis System, whom released ‘Autophobia’ in late-Summer 2021.|
Written and recorded entirely during the pandemic, ‘Autophobia’ is Tennis System’s first new full-length since 2019’s ‘Lovesick’ and marks a thrilling new chapter and a logical shift in sound for the project, led by guitarist/vocalist Matty Taylor.
‘Autophobia,’ defined by any dictionary, is the persistent, crippling fear of being alone. For Taylor, the very idea of making an album in the midst of a pandemic, in lockdown without a band — startlingly alone — was enough to trigger it. For months, as venues sat empty and legions of musicians also searched for meaning, he wrote nothing, played nowhere and let the dust gather.
“I was done. I didn’t want to make music anymore,” Taylor says. The incessant pressure to garner followers, compromise his vision and prioritize streams over art had taken its toll on him. And so the pandemic and the unknowable void it left for musicians, felt like a cosmic sign. “If Chadwick hadn’t called me and said, ‘Why don’t you come down here and make the record?’ I don’t know what the fuck I would have done,” Taylor says. “I wouldn’t have made this record.”
Chadwick is Chadwick Johnson of Hundredth and Pure Violet and the record they made is ‘Autophobia,’ the astonishing new album from Tennis System.
Written and produced with Johnson (a friend since he and Taylor toured together in 2017) and mixed and mastered by Sam Pura (The Story So Far, Basement, Spice), ‘Autophobia’ is a departure from expectation for Tennis System, an auspicious embrace of the moment and for Taylor, a confrontation of his fear of failing as a solo artist.
Rather than a failure, ‘Autophobia’ is nothing short of a wildly catchy and moving album. Tennis System’s most personal offering, it is minimalist and vocals-driven, the unlikely bedroom project of a feral live musician — music to memorialize a lost year. With Johnson, Taylor veered from the scuzzy guitars and pummeling drums he’s known for, instead weaving synth and drum machines with live drums and guitar — and even the hum of a swarm of bees — to form a tapestry of textured soundscapes unlike anything he’d created before. “Writing these songs without a band let me make music without having to meet anyone’s expectations but my own,” says Taylor. In unprecedented times, “I focused on making the record I wanted to make.”
What inspired him now was our basest human instincts, revealed in stark relief. “You see the desperation,” he says. “Relationships were falling apart. You saw people doing Instagram Live every day just to feel a connection to people, to feel relevant, to fulfill some craving to not be alone.” Of the collective existential crisis of the Instagram economy, he declares, “It’s autophobia in and of itself.”
Stereogum has called the band’s music “a gnarly, humongous, beautiful sound in which to absolutely immerse yourself,” but on “Bitter,” the infamously aggressive guitars fall away, replaced by little more than a drum beat and an urgent rumble of bass as Taylor sings of a failed relationship in which both parties moved so fast that neither could see the fundamental incompatibilities. “You threw it all away, don’t know what to say,” Taylor sings over a spartan, infinitely catchy beat. “Would you do it still, if you knew the thrill would eventually give?”
Though minimalism reigns on ‘Autophobia,’ the chorus-heavy anthems Tennis System is known for bleed into the first single, “Truth Hurts,” in which Taylor lays out an argument that being alone is not necessarily being weak. And “Summer Sweater” is about the moment when pleasant “time to yourself” gives way to the anxiety-inducing realization that it may have no end. “Summer is my favorite season and, this year, while I was warmed by the weather,” says Taylor, “I still felt cold and alone.”
About Tennis System:
Guitarist/vocalist Matty Taylor’s veteran project launched in Washington, DC, where it quickly gained a reputation for ear-crushing live shows that blended shoegaze grandeur and punk urgency. (Taylor, raised in the DC area, had all but steeped in the music of Fugazi, Bad Brains and Nation of Ulysses — the sounds of discord that now underpin Tennis System’s sound.) He quickly left for the sunwashed scenes of Los Angeles, where the band’s slash-and-burn shows in near record time earned the project the distinction of being named “one of the city’s best live acts,” by LA Weekly. Soon, they were playing the legendary Amoeba Records, holding court during a residency at the Echo and performing regularly at the city’s iconic Part-Time Punks showcase, not to mention Austin Psych Fest, Noise Pop Fest, Echo Park Rising and the Air + Style festivals. What Tennis System “has perfected is a pulverizing blend of noise and melody,” wrote The Big Takeover, while Revolver says the band’s sound rocks “like a lost Sonic Youth banger.” ‘Autophobia’ is Tennis System’s fourth full-length album, following ‘Lovesick’ (2019), ‘Technicolor Blind’ (2014) and ‘Teenagers’ (2011).
‘Autophobia’ Cover Art
Credit: Jonathan Delgado