Thought Leaders band photo
Bay Area band Thought Leaders recently released a new album, In Wastelands.

Like all things, the pandemic has affected how records are made. In Wastelands was conceived in the before times, but executed during the height of Corona’s stronghold. “We’ve only played some songs together a handful of times,” said bassist Andrew Lund in a recent interview.

Though pieces were recorded separately, you’d never know from listening to the record. There’s a delightful Wall of Sound effect that defies any proximity challenges. The biggest hint that this was recorded during the pandemic is not from any perceivable shortcomings, but from a very palpable but confined rage. Reminiscent of the nervous energy and oddly approachable combativeness of bands like Joy Division — the musical equivalent of those videos of well-read college kids punching Nazis.

The formation of the band was born from that fascist-pulverizing energy as well. “With everything that was going on, with Trump, we felt we needed to do something, to respond,” said Lund. “I want to be clear, it’s not a personal political response to Trump. I just knew I needed to do something creative and aggressive.”

Creative aggression is my favorite type of aggression and they’ve achieved that in excess on this new album. With restrictions lifting, Lund says they will probably start playing out locally in September. In Wastelands is available on Bandcamp.