Emma Goldman may or may not have actually said, “It’s not my revolution if I can’t dance to it,” but the spirit of that sentiment persisted throughout her activist work. And now, it permeates the grimy dirt-pop and pulsating bleak ecstasy of GONE SUGAR DIE.

The guiding principle for Patrick McWilliams and Mike Hindert is to make music the world can dance to. These are pop songs built on a foundation of authenticity, energized garage rock style vitality, and genuine passion, all of it shot through with high-minded ambition. GONE SUGAR DIE isn’t a political movement. (The duo is just as hungover and hungry as any other scrappy group who’ve slept in hostels.) But this music isn’t stupid.

Imagine Crystal Castles and The Weeknd, in the pit together, watching The Sex Pistols. GONE SUGAR DIE is a smart but explosive dark romance between synth punk and indie pop. It’s the kind of collision that can inspire ethereal transcendence or ignite a disco.

Hindert is best known as the stylish and savvy bassist of indie darlings The Bravery, who plastered Brooklyn with posters, mastered social media when it was still in its infancy, and impressed tastemakers at the BBC with a London residency before they’d secured their major label record deal. The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, and MTV championed The Bravery early on. Anthems like “An Honest Mistake” and “Believe” still resonate today.

Growing up in a small town an hour outside of Vancouver, an industrial place populated by auto mechanics and pawn shops, McWilliams was enthralled by the burgeoning international scene coalescing around acts like The Killers, The Strokes, and The Bravery. As lead singer and keyboardist for The Cut Losses, McWilliams had an underground hit with “Spending Time On My Own,” which garnered 100,000 Spotify streams in 72 hours. He sent music to Hindert in hopes of working with his Merrifield Records.

The pair quickly connected on their mutual love of darker new-wave icons like Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark, Echo & The Bunnymen, and the Cure; lovelorn anti-heroes The Smiths; and Britpop badasses like Oasis, Blur, and The Verve. Their instinct was to do something new and inventive, with a proper nod to the past, but a fresh urgency. GONE SUGAR DIE emerged, brought to life in an inspired L.A. recording session.

Producer and guitarist Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero, Teenage Wrist, 3OH!3) lent an almost improvisational flair to band’s maiden voyage, crystalizing the original vision in full. Anthony Burulcich, drummer for The Bravery (and gun-for-hire for Morrissey and Weezer, among others), laid down rhythms for GONE SUGAR DIE in the studio. To hear the guys tell it, Gallagher would hit “play” on the duo’s preproduction work, Burulcich would stop and start in all of the right places over the preprogrammed beats, and a serendipitous synergy would ignite, brighter than any “A-list” team could’ve achieved.

If the world could have somehow conjured and captured the missing link between the Pistols and Public Image Ltd., between The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite, and resurrected it with a modern edge, it might have sounded like GONE SUGAR DIE. There’s enough imagination, adventurousness, and experience between the pair at the GONE SUGAR DIE’s center to ensure enthralling offerings of dirt pop for years more to come.

May 9, 2019 10:00 pm CMW Presents The King Khan & BBQ Show