Post Animal – “Ralphie”

Ever since Stranger Things became a pop culture phenomenon in 2016, music has been pivotal to the show’s identity. There was the beloved, retro score provided by S U R V I V E, and there was the (mostly welcome) nostalgia overload of an ’80s-based show bringing in classics from the era, even building plot points around the Clash. And as the show’s become one of our dominant water-cooler programs these days, its ever-present cast has explored all manner of side gigs, many of them revolving around playing music themselves.

Most notably, there’s been Finn Wolfhard’s alt-rock second life. After paying tribute to New Order, covering and guesting with Mac DeMarco, and remaking the “Buddy Holly” video on Lip-Sync Battle, Wolfhard and his band started recording an EP with the help of Twin Peaks’ Cadien Lake James. Gaten Matarazzo also showed off his love for ’90s alt-rock by covering Pearl Jam’s “Porch.” But all along the way, Joe Keery — the guy who plays Steve — has been playing guitar in a band called Post Animal; they’ve been cranking out modern psych-rock for a few years now, and have a bunch of tracks up on Bandcamp.

Based in Chicago, Post Animal traffic in the kind of swirly, knotty psych-rock that’s often gotten them compared to Tame Impala. There’s a bit of shared DNA there for sure, but Post Animal also came up playing in Chicago’s DIY scene and there’s something a little scrappier about them, meaning they’ve also been logical tourmates with Twin Peaks, Wavves, and White Reaper. Today, they’ve announced an extensive headlining tour and their official debut album, When I Think Of You In A Castle.

Due to, you know, Stranger Things being a bit of a hit, Keery won’t be joining the band as a full-time touring member. He does, however, pop up on the album’s lead single “Ralphie” trading vocals with bassist Dalton Allison — one of the group’s co-founders alongside his childhood friend, guitarist Matt Williams. (The lineup is further rounded out by keyboardist/guitarist Jake Hirshland, guitarist Javi Reyes, and drummer Wesley Toledo.) A bright and punchy bit of psych-pop, “Ralphie” is a promising initial preview of the album, moving effortlessly through a series of effervescent passages full of sugary hooks and guitar breaks. Check it out below.

01 “Everywhere All At Once”
02 “Gelatin Mode”
03 “Tire Eyes”
04 “Ralphie”
05 “Heart Made of Metal”
06 “Castle”
07 “Special Moment”
08 “Victory Lap-Danger Zone”
09 “One Thing”
10 “Dirtpicker”

03/09 – Davenport, IA @ Daytrotter
03/10 – St. Louis, MO @ Foam
03/11 – Springfield, MO @ Outland Ballroom
04/18 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
04/19 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
04/20 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
04/21 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
04/27 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
04/28 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
05/02 – Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin
05/03 – Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
05/04 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
05/06 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival
05/24 – Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
05/25 – Toronto, ON @ Smiling Buddha
05/26 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
05/29 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
05/30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
05/31 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
06/02 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage
06/04 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
06/05 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room
06/06 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
06/09 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/11 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
06/14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
06/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
06/16 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
06/17 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
06/18 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium
06/19 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
06/21 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
06/22 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
06/23 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
06/26 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
06/28 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake Lounge
06/29 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Front Room
06/30 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry

When I Think Of You In A Castle is out 4/20 via Polyvinyl. Pre-order it here.

CREDIT: Pooneh Ghana