The Serfs

Half Eaten By Dogs (Trouble In Mind)

Contact Jaycee Rockhold about The Serfs

Cincinnati punks The Serfs, Trouble in Mind’s newest signing, announce their third album, Half Eaten By Dogs, out October 27th. It’s their best album yet, putting a decidedly Midwestern spin on the modernist twitch of future-forward bands like Total Control or Cold Beat, as well as the post-industrialist dance floor grime of Skinny Puppy, Dark Day, This Heat, and Factrix. Anyone paying attention can see that Cincinnati is a very real hotbed of musical creativity at the moment, and The Serfs – Dylan McCartney (vocals, percussion, guitar, bass, electronics), Dakota Carlyle (electronics, bass, guitar, vocals) and Andie Luman (vocals, synths) – are undeniably near the center of the city’s neu-underground scene. They are a deliberately nebulous and incidentally industrialist gang of dance-floor hymners – tranced-out troubadours whose sound and musical ideology seems to be a causal manifestation of their immediate environments.


Half Eaten By Dogs is a wide-eyed look through a scope into a heathenish vision, where ice-encrusted synth harmonies command oozing chemical rhythms and drilled-out elemental rock formations. There’s a psychedelic melancholy to it,  in both the abstract lyrical sense, with doomed proclamations of natural and supernatural disasters, and the more tangible musical sense. It veers all over the map of tenebrous drum and synthesizers and stygian guitar, at times with a cautious paranoia and at times with tuneful defiance (and in some moments harmonica, saxophone or flute).


Today’s “Club Deuce” is a flat-out sexy floor filler. Its low-end sizzle is designed to make you move, and slither like a lurker at the threshold of the dance floor. “I thought of the idea for this song at first like a movie in my mind,” says Luman. “It was the story of a fated man and a modern day Venus with complete and unrelenting control. The set was a quiet corner in a thunderstruck city with endless commotion in the distance. The whole thing glowing like a neon sign. ‘Club Deuce’ churns unhurried until it billows all around you and you’re caught like a fly in the jaws of a venus fly trap.”


The Serfs, emerging like a missile from some surreptitious silo, were formed while McCartney and Carlyle were scraping the bottom of the barrel, tilling the soil for the baron (a.k.a. working the fryers at a pub) and generally wallowing in the puddles of despair. The two decided to express their grim outlook through self-hypnosis by way of drums and synthesizers. After a couple of bungled attempts to play live, Luman joined the band and the classic trio lineup was formed. Like their Ohio predecessors, The Serfs seem askew from the art that surrounds them, and they’re proud of it. Half Eaten By Dogs may be a step further down into the catacombs for the band, but if the principle of correspondence is correct, then they could be on their way to somewhere higher.