Automatic’s fresh post-punk energy excites at KCRW’s Apogee Studio session

Automatic (Photo: Larry Hirshowitz, Courtesy of KCRW).

Los Angeles-based Automatic, born out of the L.A. DIY scene, brings all their post-punk feminine energy to the Apogee Studio stage, fresh off the release of their new album Excess.

The year is 1989. I’m coasting down the Pacific Coast Highway, headphones on, ocean breeze in my face under the cool late summer glow. It’s the city of artists and dreamers, believers and shakers and protectors of the earth. Cue Automatic, the post-punk revival indie music trio who seems to have carved their own style of art-rock music in today’s modern world.

Comprised of Izzy Glaudini (synths, vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals) and Halle Saxon (bass, vocals), the three-piece act holds it together with some really impressive musicality. Still, beyond that, the real catch with seeing these women live is that within their three-piece entourage, all three women have the opportunity to shine and pull their weight — and pull the weight they did.

During their live Apogee Studio session with KCRW, Automatic commanded the stage with a mesmerizing ease. The trio seems to combine the worlds of Riot Grrrl and late 1970s post-punk grunge with a New Wave flair. Their sonic soundscape is synth and bass-heavy at heart, with lyrics that are simple and catchy yet capture a sense of disillusionment, as they are three young women making art in a time where the world and what we knew of it has been turned completely upside down.

Their new album Excess, which was released on June 24 of this year by Stones Throw Records, is the follow-up to their debut 2019 album Signal, which became a KCRW favorite and Top 10 Album of the Year. Their comeback returns fresh out of the pandemic and offers up a fresh and focused sound.

In songs like “Signal,” with its catchy bass loop that slides over a punchy and rhythmic drumbeat with fun post-punk garage synths, their sound is purely addicting. It reminds me of playing an early 2000s video game like Tony Hawk’s Underground with its angsty punk-rock roots as Izzy sings:

“Going left or going right, you can’t decide
To slave away another day from 9 to 5
Oh look at me, machinery of modern life
Turn off an on, it’s not enough to be alive”


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