In 2018, Special Interest located the middle ground between no wave and Nina Simone. The quartet’s debut album, Spiraling, began with a song—tough, anthemic, guttural, and glammy—called “Young, Gifted, Black, in Leather.” Evoking Simone’s Civil Rights Era anthem and the cool cultishness of their VHS-referencing band name, “Young, Gifted, Black, in Leather” fittingly opened with the High Priestess of Soul herself: “I want to shake people up so bad that when they leave a nightclub where I performed, I just want them to be to pieces,” goes the sample, and then the band follows in Simone’s high stakes. “The law is on my back/Every night,” Alli Logout shouts out. “The law is on my back/That’s why we fight.”
In this current moment of razing systems and exposing histories, Special Interest is attuned to the future. “We are on the brink of a major collapse of everything,” Logout said in a 2019 interview. “I think what we are doing speaks to that. I want complete, total destruction of everything.” Perhaps when Logout screams “trust no wave” on “Young, Gifted, Black, in Leather,” it meant just that: Trust that your impulse towards destruction is for a reason.
The Passion Of is the sound of art-punk, industrial, ambient, techno, and glam imploding on themselves. It’s vicious and physical, blistering at the edges of Maria Elena’s serrated guitars, Nathan Cassiani’s bass playing, and Ruth Mascelli’s blown-out synths and cavernous drum-machine beats—The Passion Of is made of sparks. Logout’s holler can