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Combining the visceral and cerebral sides of post-punk with sonic and visual flair, the U.K. trio Drahla takes inspiration from '70s no wave as well as legends like Wire, the Fall, and Television Personalities. On releases such as 2019's Useless Coordinates, the band's deadpan vocals and powerful rhythm section combined in distinctively fierce and hypnotic ways.
Drahla formed in late 2015, when singer/guitarist Luciel Brown, bassist Rob Riggs, and drummer Mike Ainsley moved from London to Leeds after feeling out of place in the capital. The band soon established itself as part of Leeds' DIY scene. Drahla worked with Hookworms' MJ on their debut EP, Fictional Decision, which A Turntable Friend Records released in October 2016. The band followed it with Faux Text, a volume of the Too Pure Singles Club series with a limited run of 500 copies when it appeared in April 2017. Produced once again by MJ, it also marked the first time Drahla worked with XAM Duo/Virginia Wing's Chris Duffin, who played saxophone on the single. That November, the band reunited with MJ and Duffin for the Third Article EP, which Drahla released on their own Blank Ad label after their first European tour with Metz. The EP caught the attention of Captured Tracks founder Mike Sniper, and Drahla signed to the label soon afterward. Drahla issued A Compact Cassette, a limited-edition tape collecting their previous output, in May 2018, just before they performed a string of dates that included Robert Smith's Meltdown Festival. The single Twelve Divisions of the Day followed in July. While working on their debut album, Drahla left Leeds, with Brown and Riggs returning to London and Ainsley moving to Wakefield. Once again, the trio collaborated with Duffin and incorporated influences ranging from Glenn Miller and Swell Maps to Japanese synth innovators Mariah into their songs. Useless Coordinates -- a title that reflected the unsettled nature of Drahla's life -- appeared in May 2019. ~ Heather Phares