Local post-hard-core band releases new EP

David Glickman

The band Institute has been making post-punk music since early 2013. During their live shows, front man Moses Brown staggers around the stage, twisting his face into a ghoulish form while he delivers his lyrics with a snotty drawl. He frequently winds up drooling and, at a recent show, smeared peanut butter on his face before jumping into the crowd. Angular, tight guitar riffs collide with the rumble of the rhythm section to create a tension that Brown channels onstage. 

“I want it to be like Iggy Pop,” Brown said. “Just super classic, ‘Duh, that’s punk.’ It’s just like a nod. I don’t know; no one else is doing straight-up stuff like this right now.”

The band members all come from hard-core backgrounds: Bassist Adam Cahoon fronts the band Wiccans, a noisy post-hard-core band out of Denton, and Brown and guitarist Arak Avakian currently play in local hard-core punk band Glue. But Institute is a much different beast. 

“It’s so much easier to start a hard-core band, and, even if people aren’t on the same page, you will be because it’s hard-core,” Cahoon said. “It’s so much more defined.”

Institute was started by accident. Brown had recorded some songs on his own, but, when Cahoon heard about this, he misunderstood and thought Brown had started a new band. Cahoon approached Brown about joining this “band,” and Institute was born.

“I had a couple as demo recordings on a four-track,” Brown said. “We used one of them, but then we flushed out the demo with songs we wrote as a group.”    

After releasing that demo along with a single earlier this year to acclaim, the band just released its EP, Salt, a five-song collection recorded from the same session as its single. It was released by the relatively large indie label Sacred Bones, which signed the band after they passed along their demo to a friend who worked for the label.     

“I guess everyone else heard it and thought it was cool,” Brown said. “And then [they] talked to us [about releasing it] before that first tour that we did.”

Nevertheless, they are taking it as normally as anything else they do as a band. 

“I had no idea we were even meeting [Sacred Bones],” Avakian said, chuckling. “We were just hanging out at a bar and I was like, ‘I guess Mose knows these guys.’ And then we went to their warehouse, and I realized what was going on, and I was like, ‘Oh, cool.’”

With the new record came a lineup change, as original drummer Albert Larreta left the band to concentrate on school. The band quickly recruited Barry Elkanick of Houston hard-core punk band Back to Back and are more than happy with where the band has gone. 

“Barry is the best, and knew all the songs in 15 minutes,” Brown said. “Or knew them all already. Plus, he’s in to all the same exact stuff we are.”

The band is already laying out the ground work for its debut album, which it hope to record in December. In the meantime, they will be playing a show at the 21st Street Co-op this Saturday as a record release for their new EP — not that their growing profile is changing their approach in any way. 

“I never feel different, no matter what show we’re playing, big or small,” Avakian said. “Sometimes we play to like seven people or something, and it’s like, ‘This is cool.’”