Automatic’s Playlist of Apocalyptic Songs From Fellow LA Bands

With their dystopian sci-fi opus Excess out now, the trio shares 10 tracks that match its energy.

Automatic’s Playlist of Apocalyptic Songs From Fellow LA Bands

With their dystopian sci-fi opus Excess out now, the trio shares 10 tracks that match its energy.

Words: Mike LeSuer

Photo: Dana Trippe

June 24, 2022

There’s something a little depressing about revisiting just about any 20th century work of dystopian sci-fi, as seemingly most of the nightmare scenarios laid out there have since become products or ideologies casually touted by companies like Amazon. While Asimov’s technology-based fears become relevant again every time Boston Dynamics unveils a new video of their in-development robot police dogs or whatever, H.G. Wells at least missed the mark when he prophesied visitors from another planet as the #1 space-based anxiety. That, of course, also belongs to companies like Amazon, whose billionaire, extremely-divorced-guy founder’s very public midlife crisis has recently taken him to space with a newfound personal hobby demonstrating just how much money he would rather spend on himself out of sheer boredom than put toward literally ending a global shortage of attainable food and housing.

While we’re still an unspecified amount of time away from whatever climate-based apocalypse is brewing, the casual dystopia of everyday life is the subject of the second album from LA’s Automatic, a trio based in our country’s West Coast terrarium of wealth inequality. With Excess’s sounds rooted in the minimal aesthetic of mid-century sci-fi B-movies, its baseline state of spacey Moog over anchoring drum and bass also serves the purpose of putting the lyrics’ message affirming the foundational sci-fi authors’ predictions about the trajectory of any-stage-capitalism toward apocalypse at the forefront.

With the record out today, the band took a moment to put together a playlist of songs from fellow LA-based artists whose irreverently danceable visions of the unsettlingly near future match those of Excess, with punk prophets X and Suburban Lawns landing alongside up-and-coming groups like Fashion Club and PENDANT. Check out Excess here, and listen to their playlist below.

Gun Club, “Jack on Fire”

One of the sexiest albums ever made, in our opinion. The Gun Club rep the janky side of LA we love so much—perfect for warm, poisonous summer nights.

The Fazes, “Reflectionz”

This band recently asked us to check their music out on Instagram! We like the nonchalant, dreamy vocals. We also imagine LA dating will still be as aloof and frustrating in a post-apocalyptic world as it is today. It’s good to have some songs ready.

Sextile, “Contortion”

A new single from our friends in Sextile. They’ve definitely cornered the market on dystopian club bangers. Their live show is really good, too!

Pendant, “Thorn”

We play this when we’re driving long distances on tour to keep the party going. It’s our anti-nap song.

Fashion Club, “Scrutiny” 

This song’s moody goth vibes hold your hand tenderly as you coldly march toward the dystopian future that we are co-creating with Amazon.

Self Improvement, “Fear and Power” 

When we run out drinkable water, only two states of being will exist: fear and power. At that point, any effort toward self-improvement will be rendered frivolous, as survival will be priority number one.

Aurat, “333” 

It’s the year 2055 and, in a clearing made by wildfires off PCH, a dance party is taking place. “333” by Aurat is blaring, green strobes flashing, and people continue to dance in spite of everything.

Yiamelic Frequencies, “Aggregate”

This project is from Lola’s sister, Diva, and it’s based on her visions of another dimension—one in which she’s always been connected to. What’s more dystopian than wanting to escape to an alien utopia?

X, “Nausea”

Maybe this song is about having a bad hangover, or maybe it’s about how sick the impending doom makes us feel sometimes.

Suburban Lawns, “Janitor”

The band name is so dystopian, and this is one of those songs that’s probably about nothing, but is also about everything.