NYC-based goth pop-alternative duo Frenchy and the Punk** present their cover version of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ classic **‘Cities In Dust’, set for release on October 18, the 38th anniversary of the original release by this game-changing post-punk outfit.
The single comes with the B-side track ‘Monsters’, a rhythmic new wave-punky guitar-based tale of greed that conjures images of surreal scenes as if in a trippy video game. Reflecting the angst of the moment, it weaves and flows in observation of the theft of the world’s abundance by those whose hunger to have it all at any cost knows no bounds.
Frenchy and the Punk is vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland, who co-founded Outpatients and Deep Wound (with Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis and Lou Barlow). Tapped as one of the Top 25 duos in the US by Yahoo! Music, the duo profess a vivid blend of post-punk, cabaret and dark folk music.
This release follows the duo’s seventh album ‘Zen Ghost’, written and recorded during the pandemic and released in October 2022 to critical acclaim. During these same recording sessions, they decided to record the Banshees’ cover after fans seemed thrilled with their live rendition at shows.
Many of the songs on their recent Zen Ghost have also garnered that vocal comparison as well as to Grace Slick and Johnette Napolitano. American guitarist and live looping master Scott Helland, who cut his teeth in the early hardcore punk scene of Western Massachusetts, is an avid fan of the iconic 80s band and Cities in Dust was one of his favorites.
Helland recalls first discovering Siouxsie in the mid-80s upon walking into his favorite record store – Main Street Records in Northampton, MA, noting “It was one of those things I’ll never forget. Seeing a poster of Siouxsie with her teased black hair and the song blasting throughout the store, it was mind blowing. I feel like I hadn’t really been exposed to female musicians in the punk or goth realm until then. She was instantly cool to me.”
While also a fan, Stephenson’s deep dive into the Banshees’ sound came much later. “I was aware of Siouxsie and the Banshees, but mostly for her stunning look. I loved her image. She seemed to exude fierceness and confidence but I wasn’t all that familiar with the band’s sound. It’s really because our fans constantly mentioned her name that got me falling down the Banshees’ rabbit hole some years ago,” says Stephenson.
“It’s never too late to discover great music! Seeing her perform at Latitude Festival in the UK while on tour there this year was so inspiring. She fully embraces her age and still performs with the fierceness I saw and loved in those early days. I so appreciate how creative and inventive the band was and I’m also a fan of Siouxsie’s solo album Mantaray.”
Helland and Stephenson met in NYC in 1998, when Stephenson spontaneously jumped on stage to accompany Helland during his solo guitar performance. The spark was immediate, powerful and undeniable. The two began to tour with fevered zeal and striking aesthetic, building fervent fans on the mystical-folk/steampunk festival, coffeehouse, convention and club circuits with their boisterous performances.
With numerous recordings under their belt over the years, they’ve performed with Dead Can Dance’s Peter Ulrich and Dresden Dolls’ Brian Viglione, and opened for Thomas Dolby, Dinosaur Jr., The World Inferno Friendship Society, Rasputina, Cruxshadows, Hurray For The Riff Raff and The Young Dubliners.
After a full year of touring throughout the USA and Europe in support of ‘Zen Ghost’, Frenchy and the Punk is now back in New York, writing material for a new album they plan to release in 2024. In the meantime, ‘Cities In Dust’ is available from fine digital outlets, including Apple Music, Spotify** and **Bandcamp.