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Portland Punks Autistic Youth Swap Instruments and Re-Emerge as Public Eye

Taken a listen to the jittery "Hot White" from their forthcoming debut album.

Tim Scott

Tim Scott

Stalwarts of the Portland scene, Autistic Youth were a band who over their ten-plus years plied in an urgent style of melodic punk that took in elements of garage rock, 80s hardcore, and a healthy dose of classic power pop. As Public Eye, the band have swapped instruments and gone through a reinvention of sorts that brings a more post punk feel. There’s still the same sense of melody and urgency only now extra agitation. Think early Parquet Courts with a bit more frayed tension.

Following Mood Change Party, a five-song cassette that was released on German label Sabotage, the band are readying for the release of their debut LP. Take a listen to "Hot White", a track from the album, and read a short interview with the band's Nick Vicario.

Noisey: You previously played as Autistic Youth. You’ve changed instrument but what is the main point of difference between AY and Public Eye?
Nick Vicario: It’s a much different band now, at least to us. Autistic Youth started when we were freshman in high school and lasted 10 years until we decided to switch it up. With the Public Eye stuff, there is a lot more purpose and intent to the songwriting. I guess you could say we grew up.

You toured a fair bit with Autistic Youth. Do you plan on doing the same with Public Eye?
Yeah,definitely. We did a west coast tour in June and plan on going out pretty extensively once the record comes out.

'Hot White' is a newer track that didn’t appear on the demo. Is the track about anything in particular?
This song will be on the next release. The lyrics were written at the height of my frustration toward the abundance of people moving to Portland at the moment. Stay away from Star Bar creeps.

What do you think of early comparisons to Total Control and Spacmen 3?
I'm into it. Both bands have had an influence on us. Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to is not only a good record but also just a good idea.

What was the initial reaction to the demo? Were you surprised that Sabotage were keen to release it on vinyl?
The reaction was pretty good. We released it without any announcing anything or playing a show so I think some people might have been surprised that we even started a new band. We've done releases with Sabotage before and Franz, who runs the label, has always been great to us so we aren't surprised. Glad he is still into what we do.

Catch Public Eye at these shows:
Aug 22 - Portland at Star Bar
Aug 29 - Portland at The Blackwater Bar