Back in January, Reno’s Rigorous Proof released Postmodern Apocalypse. Time has passed, but it’s still wonderful. And what is time anyway?
The four-piece wrote the five songs live between 2015-2016 while living together. The band is comprised of Johnny Harpo on guitars and vocals, Adam Landis on keys, Wesley Forster on drums, and Jesse Gaddis on bass.
Harpo’s voice is gravelly and unique. His love for Oasis and The Kinks are palpable.
Landis and Gaddis’ harmonies and backup vocal work are prominent. Forster is an animal. Or just Animal, if you’re talking drummers.
Their previous two records were recorded with Rick Spagnola at Dogwater Studios, Postmodern Apocalypse was recorded at Loud As Folk Studios by Greg Gilmore and Spike McGuire.
“We recorded 80 percent of it live with them in one night,” Harpo said in an interview with This Is Reno. “They both pushed us with their enthusiasm and skills as producers, mentors, engineers, and also contemporaries. This record wouldn’t exist without them.”
This time around, they found themselves with more time to work in the studio and flush out their arrangements.
“We finally got to explore the process of building something in the studio, as opposed to rushing in and recording it as fast as we could,” Harpo said.
To Harpo, creating the record was impactful in more ways than just musically. All of the band members were busy living their lives, moving to different cities and countries, getting married and trudging through college.
“A lot of living went into the songs,” Harpo said. “Greg and Spike were the shepherds at a time when I myself was a lost little sheep.”
“Lauren Sulfate” and “AK-47” are fan favorites full of memorable lyrics, lip-snarling bass, and tasty licks. The album ends with the hearty title track. The song breaks into Pink Floyd-like chaos, featuring old television commercials, carried along by anthemic piano.
Harpo broke his ankle, and was bedridden from last December to February. He said the lack of functionality made him arrange differently due to the basic recording setup. He’s also been recently influenced by Fionna Apple and Nobuo Uemstsu.
“I love how Apple can go from timid to a tidal wave in one second,” Harpo said. “With guitar as well, learning how to float in the shadows with a guitar and then strike like thunder.”
In 2021, Rigorous Proof turns 10 years old, but this year, they’re changing up the lineup, and getting a new vision together. Harpo has the next record written.
“It’s like Elvis Costello and Rush were guided by Solange,” Harpo said.
Harpo wants his listeners to know Rigorous Proof doesn’t fall under a simple heading like “throwback” and their catalogue is on every streaming service.
“These songs are always five years ahead or five years behind, Harpo said. “But it doesn’t matter because ALL TIME IS NOW,” Harpo said.
Give Postmodern Apocalypse a listen – https://rigorousproof.bandcamp.com/
Tony Contini is a photographer, videographer and writer focused on all things music. He’s had his finger on the pulse of Reno’s music scene for over a decade. He graduated from UNR with a degree in journalism and has since worked for newspapers, magazines, photo studios and as a freelance photographer and videographer. Aside from concert coverage, album reviews and music video production, his schedule is filled with weddings, portraiture and event coverage.