Cancers Explore Blown-Out Shoegaze on “Helpless” via VICE‏

June 4, 2015


Cancers Debut “Helpless” via VICE

Double A-Side single “Missed b/w Helpless” due out June 9th on Debt Offensive Records

Cancers are excited to share the second single from their upcoming double “a-side” 7″, the blistering “Helpless” via VICE. Following the recently released “Missed,” the duo’s new single “Helpless” trades programmed beats for an enormous wall of fuzzed out sound. After a haunting intro, the blown out guitars take hold of everything, a blizzard of unrelenting noise that provides the perfect juxtaposition to Ella Kaspar and Lenny Miller’s sugary vocal melodies. The vocals cut through the chaos, illuminating the song with pop charm that fits brilliantly among the carnage. While their debut record, Fatten The Leeches, produced by legendary Seattle engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden), was comprised of enormous grunge riffs and sugary sweet pop hooks, “Helpless,” is a different beast altogether. Straying from the ultra hi-fi production of their debut to a noisier, grittier, lo-fi indebted home production, Cancers began experimenting with synth scuzz, programmed drums, loops, and a desire to push melodies as far into the fuzz void as possible. Stripped of their debut record’s sheen, Cancers embrace elements of shoegaze and post-punk, moving into new unpredictable territory on their new single, proving a knack for raw pop brutality in tone and execution.

Describing Cancers’ unique sound, VICE offered, “They make sludge-y, textured music, blending the heaviness and drawling vocals of shoegaze with bluegrass and weird electronics—imagine a Southern version of the Jesus & Mary Chain with more grime and synths … It’s a lo-fi recording but sounds huge, and the whole thing feels like a breath of fresh air in 2015.”

While their debut album earned the band comparisons to The Breeders, Veruca Salt, and Smashing Pumpkins, their new single finds the band moving into a territory more akin to The Jesus & Mary Chain, Creation Records, and Medicine, reflecting a more experimental sound of indie fuzz, incorporating shoegaze textures amid bedroom pop recording techniques with endlessly unfolding layers.


The idea of Cancers began in January of 2013 when Lenny Miller and Ella Kaspar moved in together to their Chattanooga, TN home. The duo wanted to start something that was different from the style of music they’d been playing with their previous bands (Dead Dog / Unfun) and things simply took off from there. Cancers recorded a bunch of tracks in their living room while compiling ideas. After moving from Tennessee to British Columbia, the band made a quick stop in Queens to record their first demo at a hole in the wall studio. They sent that demo to Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney) in Seattle who produced the band’s full length debut Fatten The Leeches.

When asked about their new single and the change in direction, Miller said, “The new single is basically a complete alienation from everything we had been involved with for the past 10-15 years. There wasn’t a conscious decision to do what we have done for this record, ie drum programming, looping, vocal correction, synthisizing guitar sounds. We are sick of the constrictions of straight-ahead rock and roll production.  We gravitate to either lo-fi or super produced records, which we both love, that share a commonality of really narrative drums, pop song construction and melody, but we wanted to keep the grimey deep bass that a dubbed cassette gives off but also shimmery production of the snare and vocals. Not sure if there is where we’re ‘going,’ but it’s something that feels natural and lucid.”

Missed b/w Helpless tracklist:

1. Missed [stream/embed]
2. Helpless [stream/embed]

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