Having met as teenagers touring the North American post-punk scene, drummer Dan Jaquint and singer/guitarist Sean Madigan Hoen found themselves collaborating years later while living in New York. Recording in closet-sized rehearsal rooms, the duo released a number of lo-fi recordings. Returning to their home state of Michigan, they began recruiting Detroit musicians to form what would become KIND BEAST.
Born of a lifelong love of guitar music, noir aesthetics and literary fiction, KIND BEAST embraces rock n’ roll archetypes and contorts them beneath a gauze of twilight mood while lyrical themes explore shadow selves and shameless romance from angles influenced by a life of travel and Hoen’s work as a psychotherapist. Indebted to Fugazi, The Afghan Whigs and INXS as much as Sabbath and Zeppelin, what results is a consummate dark-rock ride that feels at once familiar and difficult to place amid modern genres. Propelled by Hoen’s crooning narratives of angels and demons, wholesome desire and transgressive detours into the dark heart, KIND BEAST is midnight rock for long drives and comedown hours put forth by gentlemen of wide experience.
KIND BEAST self-released their first album, You Know I Used to Dance, to regional acclaim. Dirty Realism sees the group signing to Don Giovanni records. The album’s first single, “Ride the Snake,” grooves with odd pockets of space in which Hoen contemplates the necessity of taking leaps of faith, whether in love or confronting the eternal. “Highway Madness” is an homage to the endless road trip through barren nightscapes, a theme no doubt influences by Hoen and Jaquint’s many van tours through the heartland. Elsewhere, the album touches ‘90s post-punk (“Up Your Spine”) and classic noir balladry, replete with live a string section (“The Strange Hours”).
“I love Gang of Four and The Cure and Sly and the Family Stone and I love AC/DC, and by this point I think it’s all kind of omnipresent as far as music I want to make,” says Hoen. “This is the music we make now, stuff that feels sophisticated enough to support the things I’ve gotta sing about these days. Trying to strike this elegant/raunchy/big-hearted balance in the words and music—I’m writing about adult circumstances and I guess I want the music to feel circumstantial in that way but with a primal rock thing beneath it. We have guitar solos, but they’re fucked up solos. We go in for big choruses but I’m singing about Jungian archetypes as they appear in my life. I’ve never felt more connected to the music than I do in this band.”
KIND BEAST is completed by bassist Sean Bondareff (known as longstanding bassist for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels) and Guitarist Martin Rodgers, who is making a name for himself as one Detroit’s most talented guitarists. The band has December tour dates in support of Dirty Realism.