Hypoluxo Break Down Their Self-Titled Record Track by Track
The Brooklyn post-punk ensemble quartet on the service industry jobs and awkward Christmas parties that formed their eponymous LP.
There’s probably a reason why post-punk—the talkiest of rock subgenres—leaves so much room for lyrical clarity. From songs about buildings and food to forming a band, there’s something particularly appealing about the pairing of tightly hewn guitar rock and conversational tones that you don’t really hear elsewhere in music.
Which may explain why Hypoluxo landed on the genre with their latest and self-titled record, which drops tomorrow. Relatable observations about backseat driving, embarrassing stories about Christmas parties, and the general anxiety of trying to fit in amid an intimidating Brooklyn arts scene permeate the project, which instrumentally sounds directly descendent of modernist forebears like The Replacements—or more closely linked to peers like Deeper.
Along with a preview of the new record, you can read on for an in-depth look at each song that made its way onto Hypoluxo, with commentary from the band’s Samuel Cogen. You can pre-order the record here.
1. “Seth Meyers”
No one likes a backseat driver, but I feel like everyone becomes a backseat driver when they sit in the backseat. It’s almost an impulse that you get when you’re out of control, but need to feel some semblance of control. When you tour a lot you obviously take turns driving and “relaxing.” This song is all about the changes you see in yourself depending on your roll for that particular day.
This song was written when we really didn’t know if the band would survive. Our label at the time pretty much disappeared, and we weren’t sure where to go from there. We thought we’d just disband Hypoluxo and then we met Allen Tate who pushed us to keep going. During this time I was pretty depressed and had no idea what was going to happen, but all I knew is that we wanted to keep making music. “Ridden” is an ode to me having to get out of my house and continuing the creative process from this place of dejection and despondency.
What “Nimbus” really gets at is a sort of deadening/dehumanizing feeling you can hit as you scrape by in an unforgiving metropolis, serving the wealthier denizens who seem to glide through their existence here so much more easily. Really, a sudden downpour is exactly the kind of bonus hassle that’ll make you snap. Hypoluxo capture that in a song that’s characteristically nervy and frazzled, all frayed wire guitars and Cogen slipping from disenchanted drawl to over-it yelps in a split second.
At a Christmas party in 2019 I ended up choking on a piece of beef tenderloin. Yes, I was very drunk. I had never felt that experience of choking before. I was new to this company and was completely embarrassed and nervous so I didn’t want to cause a scene. My first instinct was that I could handle it on my own so I tried to go to the bathroom to sort it out. I ended up making it halfway to the bathroom but couldn’t even walk anymore. I finally realized I could not do this on my own so I tried to signal for help, but no one noticed. I ended up punching myself in the chest so hard that the piece of meat fully shot across the room and I, uh, saved my own life?
I have been working in the service industry all my life. I appreciate the things I’ve learned, but it’s very easy to notice how terrible some people can be. It’s easy to feel small when people treat you small everyday. One day I hope to be able to not have to serve snobs to pay my rent, but for the time being I will continue to talk shit about the assholes that I serve through our music.
6. “Night Life”
Moving to a new city can be overwhelming. You have expectations, hopes, and aspirations, but things rarely work out the way you’d like. Moving to Brooklyn was a dream for me. I’ve known many people that have moved to New York and quickly left because it was too hard for them, and it can be really hard here. In the end, this city—or any city—is what you make of it. Night life is about pushing yourself to get out there and get what you want.
“No one will give it to you, you have to take it.” —Jack Nicholson, The Departed (lol)
7. “Pointer Finger”
We got our first “record deal” when I was still just a kid. It’s easy to think at that age, being naive and incredibly excited, that once you sign that contract you’ll find some success. Becoming discouraged is not something any artist wants to let in, but when you’re being screwed over and over, and there’s only seemingly low points in the present and in the future, you hit a wall. I was in the midst of a really bad place personally when writing this song, and it comes through. I’m just glad we were able to push our way through and in the end find some meaning and move in the right direction.
8. “Shape Ups”
When I was a child I got really into knives. My mother was very against me having any kind of weapons or anything violent so I had to hide them under my pull-out bed. One time I was going to Florida from New York to visit family, and I didn’t realize I had a switchblade in my backpack. My stomach dropped. I was twelve years old with an illegal switchblade in an airport. I told my dad I had to poop really bad so we got out of line for security and I went to the bathroom. Tossed it in the garbage can and we went off to Florida.
I began writing “Shock” when I traveled to Sulphur, Louisiana for my cousin’s funeral. I was mulling over the different facets of loss and how we cope with it, individually and as a community. The song was finished after I got back to Brooklyn and right around when COVID first hit here. It really came together when the eviction crisis began, and we were all trying to figure out how to live with ourselves and the immensity of the death and loss all around us. “Shock,” in the end, is about not being able to escape the things that scare you the most.
I wrote this song during one of those intensely frenetic summers in NYC. It’s always wild to feel the shift in energy when the city starts thawing, but when the summer hits it’s a totally different world. The city gets aggressive. More exciting. There are so many things to do and everyone wants to try and drink it all in all at once. That energy, as life-affirming and beautiful as it is most of the time, can also mess with people’s heads, and there’s inevitably some weird shit that goes down. I was forced to move to Florida for high school. That place is unbearably hot everyday and that same energy of NYC summers is ever present in Florida. I hated it and it made me go a little crazy. I guess that’s why I can handle NYC summers.