Monograms “Hi Low”
man standing in a field at sunset

Monograms “Hi Low”

MONOGRAMS is back with the pulsating new single: “Hi Low”.

Released on Friday 28 April, the track emerges as an exhilarating initial entry point to a brand new album from the New York-based ‘Nuke Wave’ artist, entitled ‘A Fine Commitment’ (slated for 16 June 2023, via the PaperCup Music imprint).

Occupying the post-apocalyptic wastelands that lie between New York and Manchester, the radiostatic waves that separate New Order from Nine Inch Nails, “Hi Low” is an essential and ambitious new cut from the Brooklyn underdog. One of his most lyrically visceral and personal outings to date, “Hi Low” reflects on the peaks and troughs that life can throw at you and how we come to deal with them mentally. Inspired by a period of Monograms’ life when mental health struggles would dominate his day-to-day, he remembers:

“I put on a pretty clean outer shell most of the time, cause of the way I’m wired but those that know me best know that it’s a roller coaster at times. I don’t think it’s uncommon for people during that creative process but for me there’s definitely another mental health and semi-destructive element at work. Years ago I used to fight this rocky feeling a bit more, so the story of the song really is built so that the verses are me trying to gain my footing, trying to find some answers to stop the storm waves from crashing, fighting it…  and the chorus is just dumb blind acceptance. ‘This is me. This is probably a lot of people. Plus, up and down is probably better than not moving at all.”

Finding sage advice in the most unexpected of places, Monograms stumbled upon an exchange between Tony Wilson and a homeless person while watching the Madchester biopic ‘24 Hour Party People’. Spurring on a down-on-his-luck Wilson, the homeless person shouts: “The great wheel says Boethius” don’t rise up on my spokes if you like but don’t complain when you’re cast back down into the depths: “We get high, We go low.””

Opening his eyes to a universal truth, that what goes up must come down, it became an unlikely coping mechanism for Monograms at the time and would ultimately inform the moral of this song. _“It’s really not a mantra or anything, but it’s something that’s helped me not hit the low as hard. That scene from 24 Hour Party People really encapsulates it best.” says Monograms. “I’m proud of taking something so dark and difficult and trying to make a song that felt uplifting, hopeful, triumphant. That was my aim, I wanted that from this story too. It doesn’t have to be a drab topic, plus mental health is in all of us, especially over the insanity of the last few years on this planet, I think everyone has felt trapped, alone, uneasy. So it goes…”

Driving distinctive Mancunian overtones through his genre-melting “Nuke-Wave” sound, the low slung basslines, primordial chugging synthesisers, and stinging post-punk guitar riffs of “Hi Low” find Monograms taking on the archetypal Factory Records sound of its 1980s height and stamping his own mark on it.

Entirely written and recorded by Monograms in Brooklyn in just one day, the track was produced with the assistance of Ben Rice, who also produced the entire upcoming sophomore album: ‘A Fine Commitment’. ****

Monograms is the alias of NYC-based solo artist Ian Jacobs. Pointillism lyrics, lucid beats and angular melodies create a driving backdrop for what has been coined as “Nuke-Wave”.  Since the project’s conception, Monograms has supported Cloud Nothings, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ezra Furman, Sunflower Bean, Man or Astro-Man?, A Place To Bury Strangers, Girl Band, Gøggs, New Candys, Juan Waters, DMA’s Buscabulla and more. That trajectory coupled with U.S. tours and a solid array of streams and words from valued outlets such as Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, the 405, Alt Citizen, Earmilk and Adhoc has also led Monograms’ music to be used in film and television (Shameless, SXSW Film Festival and more). Monograms is Brooklyn’s Nuke Wave.

Expanding his portfolio of post-apocalyptic sounds, Monograms is now readying his first official studio album since the release of his 2020 debut ‘Only A Ceiling Can Stay Inside Forever’. 12 dynamic songs that finds the spheres of post-punk and new-wave, industrial and gritty pop converging in a thrilling meltdown of sound and genre, ‘A Fine Commitment’ the new album by Monograms will arrive on 16 June 2023, via PaperCup Music.

-Official bio

Watch our latest “Short Cuts” video podcast to discover more new indie tracks

recent features