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HomeMusicJ.R.C.G. Signs to Sub Pop and Announces Album, Grim Iconic…(Sadistic Mantra)

J.R.C.G. Signs to Sub Pop and Announces Album, Grim Iconic…(Sadistic Mantra)

On August 2nd, J.R.C.G. will release Grim Iconic…(Sadistic Mantra), the second album and Sub Pop debut from the Tacoma, WA-based artist Justin R. Cruz Gallego. Pre-order here.

Conceived and executed primarily in Gallego’s home studio, Grim Iconic…(Sadistic Mantra) was co-produced by Gallego and Seth Manchester (The Body, Battles, and Mdou Moctar.) Together, they retained the intimacy of Gallego’s home recordings while taking advantage of the hi-fi stylings of Manchester’s Machines With Magnets Studio in Rhode Island.

Driven by opposing forces, the album weds scouring electronics to hooky, powerful beats in a way that feels visceral and new.

Dogear is a face-melting firestarter that can part ways through any sea of people at attendance at a ritual in aid of extracting defiant ghosts from dead machines. A claustophobic rhythmic noise groove, sexy and sticky and stings like Talking Heads, Total Control and Rudimentary Peni signed to Ze Records locked in a basement and forced to jam together. “I wanted a song that felt playful in the way it attempted to be dissonant without taking itself too seriously,” Gallego says. The accompanying video was directed by Dustin Houston and Sam Klickner. Listen here.

To experience Justin R. Cruz Gallego’s pulverising Sub Pop debut is to get burned down to ashes and burst forth, born anew. Grim Iconic…(Sadistic Mantra), the Tacoma-based artist’s second album is driven by opposing forces: noisy abstractions and tightly structured beats, anguish and dissolution at the outside world and empowerment within, apathy and catharsis. At once playful and intent, driven and combustible, total fucking chaos mixed into glints of broken-glass beauty.

Born in Tucson, Arizona, Gallego experienced culture shock as a child after relocating to the frigid climes of the Pacific Northwest. He found solace in the Seattle punk scene centred around Iron Lung Records and has since remained a fixture in the underground community.

“I see this record as first and foremost a musical statement,” Gallego says. “I grew up in punk and DIY subcultures, but before that I had Latin music playing in the background through my childhood and every phase of adolescence. It was surprisingly natural to incorporate. I realized I wanted to go deeper into these rhythms. I wanted to make a record that felt as experimental as much as it felt from the perspective of a Latino. When I got a glimmer of that possibility, it felt exciting.”

Gallego’s influences for the album are vast, ranging from British documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis to electric Miles Davis to audio miscreants like Demdike Stare and Oneohtrix Point Never. But it’s Gallego’s assured sonic vision that resounds the loudest. And, while J.R.C.G. is a solo project, conceived and executed primarily in Gallego’s home studio, he found strength in opening the project to others, starting with Seth Manchester as co-producer. The album features a fascinating mix of supporting players, many of whom cycle through J.R.C.G.’s live lineup: Morgan Henderson (The Blood Brothers, Fleet Foxes), Jason Clackley (Dreamdecay, The Exquisites), Jon Scheid (Dreamdecay, U Sco), Erica Miller (Casual Hex, Big Bite), Veronica Dye (Terminator) Phil Cleary (U Sco), and Alex Gaziano (Dreamdecay, Kidcrash, Science Amplification).

G.I.S.M. is a whirlwind of sound, pummeling, and cleansing. It’s a sweaty, thrilling aural adventure. And like those shows staged in basements you had no idea existed, but now suddenly find a sense of belonging in a surge of dozens, in a split second it’ll leave you breathless, exhausted, and wanting to repeat it all over again. As any good mantra should.


J.R.C.G. TikTok | Instagram

Sub Pop | Website 

Main image photo by Anthony Beauchemin ©

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