Over the past decade Frankie and the Witch Fingers have operated as an outright force of nature, offering up a revelatory form of psych-rock that hits on both a primal and ecstatically mind-bending level. In the making of their new album Data Doom, the Los Angeles-based four-piece forged a sublimely galvanizing sound informed by their love of Afrobeat and proto-punk—a potent vessel for their frenetic meditations on technological change run rampant, encroaching fascism, and corrosive systems of power. Animated by the explosive energy they’ve brought to the stage in sharing bills with such eclectic acts as Ty Segall and ZZ Top, the result is a major leap forward for one of the most adventurous and forward-thinking bands working today.
Rooted in the cerebral yet viscerally commanding songwriting of co-founders Dylan Sizemore (vocals, guitar) and Josh Menashe (lead guitar, synth), Data Doom marks the first Frankie and the Witch Fingers album created with bassist Nikki “Pickle” Smith (formerly of Death Valley Girls) and drummer Nick Aguilar (previously a touring drummer for punk legend Mike Watt). In crafting their most rhythmically complex work to date, the band drew heavily from each new member’s distinct sensibilities: Smith tapped into her extensive background in West African drumming (an art form she first discovered thanks to her music-instructor parents), while Aguilar leaned into formative influences like longtime Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen. Self-produced by the DIY-minded band and recorded direct to tape by Menashe, Data Doom ultimately took shape through countless sessions in their Southeast L.A. rehearsal space, with Frankie and the Witch Fingers allowing themselves unlimited time to explore their most magnificently strange impulses.
To create the cover art for Data Doom (a co-release from Greenway Records and The Reverberation Appreciation Society), Frankie and the Witch Fingers reached out to Italian illustrator Carlo Schievano and UK-based graphic designer Jordan Warren, who then joined forces in assembling an elaborate mixed-media piece complete with its own language system and accompanying decoder. “There was no pressure and no real time constraint for this record, and because of that the creativity flowed in a very free way that probably wouldn’t have happened if we’d been on the clock in a studio,” says Sizemore. “It showed us that the more we take the time to communicate and share our ideas with each other, the more it feeds our creative energy and helps us to make something we’re all really excited about.”