Songs We Love: Axis: Sova, 'Violent Yellow' With psychedelic, mind-searing leads against a background of mechanized filth, this track positions the Chicago band as the prime movers of robo-boogie for the central United States.
NPR logo

06Violent Yellow

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/489634139/489635575" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Songs We Love: Axis: Sova, 'Violent Yellow'

Songs We Love: Axis: Sova, 'Violent Yellow'

06Violent Yellow

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/489634139/489635575" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Buy Featured Music

    Song
    Violent Yellow
    Album
    Motor Earth
    Artist
    Axis: Sova
    Label
    Drag City
    Released
    2016

    Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Axis: Sova. Grant Engstrom/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Grant Engstrom/Courtesy of the artist

Axis: Sova.

Grant Engstrom/Courtesy of the artist

Chicago's Brett Sova spent the better part of this decade working through a haze of rhythms, psychedelic notions and loosely connected processes as Axis: Sova, releasing two albums and a handful of singles as a solo project. Relying on a drum machine and a barrage of effects pedals, the project staked out its own amorphous claim on select minds, occupying a liminal territory where genres and concepts didn't bleed into one another so much as force themselves out of separate dimensions to claim the same space. On Axis: Sova's third full-length, Motor Earth, the curtain is lifted and the blurriness clarified: This is a rock band, albeit one operating on its own terms.

Axis: Sova, Motor Earth (Drag City 2016). Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

Pushing an agenda of mind-searing, psychedelic leads against a background of mechanized filth, lead-off single "Violent Yellow" finds Axis: Sova in band configuration. Sova is joined by guitarist Tim Kaiser and engineer Cooper Crain (Bitchin Bajas, CAVE), who adds percussion to the drum computer's steady beat. Bestowing nods to both early '80s ZZ Top and British sci-fi overlords Hawkwind, the track positions Axis: Sova as the prime movers of robo-boogie for the central United States: Driverless cars barrel down highways in the night in acts of subterfuge, amid what Sova dubs an "atmosphere of suspicion and violence." Some might have considered Sova's previous use of pre-programmed drums as a stopgap in the absence of human bandmates, but on "Violent Yellow," the drum machine serves a more utilitarian purpose — as a pace-setter, giving Sova the freedom to lay down a series of increasingly manic and corrosive guitar solos. There's no room for error in this song; besides, all the action's right up front, where it belongs.

Motor Earth comes out Oct. 14 on God? Records.

Purchase Featured Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Motor Earth
Artist
Axis: Sova
Label
Drag City
Released
2016

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?