If you have any familiarity with the Exploding in Sound extended universe, you probably know Devin McKnight, who is an alum of Speedy Ortiz and Grass Is Green, among others, and currently the mastermind behind Maneka. With little more than a star-studded EP and a Mannequin Pussy cover under his belt, McKnight is finally unveiling his debut full-length, Devin, which he describes as “a guitar album about black pride and addressing [his] confusion as a minority in white indie rock scenes.” Once again, McKnight calls upon former peers and bandmates (including Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis) for backup, also citing his friendship with (Sandy) Alex G as a major songwriting influence.
The first single Maneka is sharing is the dark early-album ripper “Never Nowhere,” a four-and-a-half minute shredfest remarkably at home within the full EIS discography. “This one is tricky because it’s a criticism of myself,” McKnight notes of the track. “I feel like as a man, and especially as a black man, I was always encouraged to push my feelings and emotions down into my gut and to just barrel ahead.” Such barreling can be heard around the two minute mark, when McKnight’s distorted vocals make way for a no-wavey Mascisian riff.
“Men a lot of times are running around town as these half emotionally developed people laying all their baggage on the women in their lives with zero accountability,” he concludes. “Meanwhile women have to carry their own shit and coddle our untended emotions. This is something I am guilty of in many situations in my life. I’ve done a lot of therapy on and off over the years and am medicated for major depressive disorder, but I still slip up.”
Devin is out July 26 on Exploding in Sound. You can pre-order it here.