Gus Englehorn “Exercise Your Demons”
man with his hands in the air

Gus Englehorn “Exercise Your Demons”

Montreal singer-songwriter, and official SXSW 2022 artist, Gus Englehorn is set to release his sophomore album Dungeon Master on April 29 via Secret City Records. It’s undoubtedly the cutest, heaviest, strangest rock’n’roll record you will hear this year — perhaps best demonstrated by today’s chapped and pleading single + video, “Exercise Your Demons.”

Beginning with Englehorn begging, “Hit me, I want you to hit me,” from there it explodes into a headbanging path to salvation anchored by Englehorn and partner Estée Preda’s gnashing guitar and drums. “This one is partially inspired by David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’, particularly the scene where Dorothy asks Jeffrey to hit her,” Englehorn says. “It’s about how we often turn to destructive behavior to try to make ourselves feel better when all you really need to do is get a little exercise.” It follows a pair of similarly delirious, off-kilter singles “The Gate” and “Tarantula.” Fans can expect to hear those and much more on Englehorn’s current US tour, with tickets and dates available here.

The video, directed by Preda, finds Englehorn manically prosthelytizing on a spotlit stage to an increasingly receptive, and rowdy, crowd. By the end, all hell breaks loose as everyone joins in and follows Englehorn’s gospel to, well, exercise their demons.

Dungeon Master, Englehorn’s Secret City Records debut, is an outsider opus that sparkles with Dada spirit — a playful juxtaposition of isolation, alienation and mildish OCD. Surprising, paranoid, and studded with synths and strings, Dungeon Master is deeper than a cellar and blunter than a club — a shivering introduction to an artist who’s finally arrived. “I let my subconscious do the driving,” Gus admits, and as you listen to these 10 tunes, it’s difficult not to do the same: to sit back like a dog with a two-legged daydream; like a fisherwoman with her net; like a snowboarder with a mouth full of powder.

Despite a career as a professional snowboarder, for almost all of Gus’s life — from Big Island’s sunsets to snowy Utah pistes — he dreamed of being a songwriter. If he couldn’t be Dylan, maybe he’d be Daniel Johnston, or Frank Black and The Pixies, or maybe Darby Crash and The Germs. And when he finally emerged — first on 2020’s Death & Transfiguration and now here on the 34-year-old’s label debut — he had found a sound that was dark and delightful, fun and demented, packed with dynamics and the chug of a hysterical guitar.

-Official bio

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