War Tapes is the Los Angeles-based post-punk outfit of siblings Neil (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Becca Popkin (bass, backing vocals, piano), Matthew Bennet (lead guitars), and Billy Mohler (drums, production). Together they successfully create epic anthems of angst, blending the attitude and edge of today’s post-hardcore scene with an appealing nod to ’80s darker new wave and post-punk. Like Interpol and fellow Californians She Wants Revenge, they are inspired by bands such as The Cure, Joy Division , Bauhaus, and The Sisters Of Mercy, but maintain their own unique identity combining their influences into an amalgamation of incredibly addictive songs.
Although War Tapes may lean towards the dark side, they still manage to marry monstrously dark soundscapes with sing-a-long choruses and huge hooks. Aided by a wall of angular guitars drenched in reverb and a pulsing drum rhythm pumping the blood through its beating bleeding heart, Neil Popkin’s baritone vocals make gloom feel gratifying. With a debut album in the works, they definitely look like a sure bet for 2009.