Protomartyr (band)
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Protomartyr Band
Protomartyr at Sled Island 2016
Background information
OriginDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
Butt Babies
  • Joe Casey
  • Greg Ahee
  • Alex Leonard
  • Scott Davidson
  • Kevin Boyer

Protomartyr is an American rock band formed in 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. It features Joe Casey on vocals, Greg Ahee on guitar, Alex Leonard on drums and Scott Davidson on bass guitar.


Prior to Protomartyr, Greg Ahee and Alex Leonard were performing as a duo, which was named Butt Babies. They were soon joined by Joe Casey, who started to perform on vocals at Butt Babies shows. Kevin Boyer of Tyvek joined Protomartyr on bass and second guitar for a short time before leaving the act due to the working schedules with his other band. As Scott Davidson joined the band on bass, Butt Babies transformed into Protomartyr.[1][2]

The band released their debut album, No Passion All Technique in 2012 via Urinal Cake Records.[2] This was followed by "Colpi Proibiti" in the same year, via X! Records.[2] Their second studio album, Under Color of Official Right, was released in April 2014 via Hardly Art record label.[3] A third studio album, The Agent Intellect, followed in October 2015.[4] The album was critically acclaimed, being rated 85/100 on accumulator website Metacritic,[5] and featured in best of 2015 lists in The A.V. Club,[6]Chicago Tribune,[7]Rolling Stone,[8] Metacritic,[9]Spin,[10] and Consequence of Sound.[11]

Protomartyr signed to Domino Records in 2017, and released fourth studio album, Relatives in Descent, on the label in September 2017.[12]

In March 2019, Joe Casey estimated that the group's fifth album would be done in "late 2019/early 2020."[13] Recording on the album finished in July 2019.[14]

The band has extensively toured in the United States and Europe[15] and performed at SXSW, CMJ Music Marathon, Pitchfork Music Festival, and others.[16]

Musical style

The band's music has been labeled as post-punk[1][16][17][18][19] and punk rock.[19] Josh Terry of Consequence of Sound stated that the band "blends the moody atmospherics of '70s U.K. post-punk with the raw sensibility of their Motor City garage-rock forebears."[18] The band's sound was compared to other post-punk acts such as Wire, the Fall, Pere Ubu, the Constantines and Iceage,[1][20] as well as local acts, most notably Tyvek.[19] Vocalist Joe Casey also expressed appreciation for Pere Ubu and the Fall.[1][2]

Casey's baritone vocals were also compared to those of Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Mark E. Smith of the Fall and Nick Cave.[2][18][21][22]

Influence & following

The band have been cited as an influence by bands such as Shame[23], Idles[24], The Dirty Nil[25], Vundabar[26] and The Devil Wears Prada[27]. FRIGS[28], Bully[29], Parquet Courts (whose A. Savage called Joe Casey "one of the best lead singers right now [...] His whole stage thing is awesome, but it's not even a 'thing'--it's just who he is")[30] and Iggy Pop (who called them "the best band we've got in America right now [...]")[31][32] are fans of the band.

Band members

Current members

  • Joe Casey - vocals
  • Greg Ahee - guitar
  • Alex Leonard - drums
  • Scott Davidson - bass guitar

Past members

  • Kevin Boyer (Tyvek) - bass, guitar


Studio albums



  • "Dreads 85 84" (7") (2012, Urinal Cake Records)
  • "Colpi Proibiti" (7") (2012, X! Records)
  • "Dope Cloud" (2015, Hardly Art)
  • "Scum, Rise!" (2015, Hardly Art)
  • "Jumbo's (Live)" (2015, Joyful Noise)
  • "580 Memories" (2015, Joyful Noise)
  • "Born to be Wine" (2016, [adult swim])
  • "My Children" (2017, Domino)
  • "Don't Go To Anacita" (2017, Domino)
  • "Wheel of Fortune" (2018, Domino)

Split/Collaborative releases

  • A Half Of Seven: "Blues Festival"/"Loud Underneath" (with R. Ring) (2015, Hardly Art)
  • Live At Vera: "Uncle Mother's"/"Barfuß durch die Scherben" (with Die Nerven) (2017, Roekie)
  • Irony Prompts A Party Rat: "Corinthian Leather"/"Bags & Cans" (with Spray Paint) (2018, Monofonus Press)
  • Telemetry at Howe Bridge: "Pontiac '87"/"Forbidden" (with Preoccupations) (2018, Domino)

Live albums

  • Rosé, A Fine Wine To Be Enjoyed By Couples Or Friends At Any Occasion (2012, Double Tapes)
  • Vari-Speed Mithridates (2013, Gold Tapes)
  • Dredging The Grotto (2015, none)


  1. ^ a b c d DeVille, Chris (March 5, 2014). "Band To Watch: Protomartyr". Stereogum. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e Callwood, Brett (January 16, 2013). "Punk N' Disorderly". Metro Times. Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ McGovern, Kyle (January 10, 2014). "Stream Protomartyr's Post-Punk Punisher 'Scum, Rise!'". Spin. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ Coughlan, Jamie. "Protomartyr Announce New Album, Share 'Why Do They Shake?', Tour Dates". Overblown. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ The Agent Intellect by Protomartyr, retrieved
  6. ^ Rytlewski, Evan. "The 15 best albums of 2015". Music. Retrieved .
  7. ^ Kot, Greg. "Best albums of 2015: Kendrick Lamar, Courtney Barnett and more". Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Rob Sheffield's Top 20 Albums of 2015". Rolling Stone. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "The Best Albums of 2015". Metacritic. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2015". Spin. 2015-12-01. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Top 50 Albums of 2015". Consequence of Sound. 2015-12-02. Retrieved .
  12. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (2017-09-28). "Protomartyr: Relatives in Descent review - sensational, bloodied but unbowed post-punk". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Joe from Protomartyr AMA : indieheads". Reddit. March 4, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ "@poormrratty on Instagram: "Album 5 recorded. Traditional post-recording prandial session with The Gotobeds and the Tubby's crew."". Instagram. July 20, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ "5 Questions with: Protomartyr". BrooklynVegan. March 13, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  16. ^ a b Roberts, Randall (March 16, 2014). "SXSW 2014: All hail the losers, the misanthropes and the unhip". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ Larson, Jeremy (February 25, 2014). "Protomartyr - "Come & See"". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ a b c Terry, Josh (February 26, 2014). "Listen: Protomartyr's new song "Come & See"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ a b c DeVille, Chris (January 10, 2014). "Protomartyr - "Scum, Rise!"". Stereogum. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ Hann, Michael (March 6, 2014). "Protomartyr: Detroit punk strikes back". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014.
  21. ^ McDermott, Patrick (February 24, 2014). "Stream: Protomartyr, "Come & See"". The Fader. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ Minsker, Evan (June 17, 2013). "Protomartyr - No Passion All Technique". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ Radical, Norwich (2018-12-01). "PROPER MUSICIANS - AN INTERVIEW WITH SHAME". The Norwich Radical. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "The Quietus | Features | Escape Velocity | Stendhal Syndrome: Idles Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved .
  25. ^ "The Dirty Nil: Interview". Louder Than War. 2015-09-22. Retrieved .
  26. ^ "Boston's "sludgy-jangly-pop" group Vundabar gives mixtape ft. Bowie, The Fall & more in Recipe #12". Signal Kitchen. 2016-02-04. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Hear Devil Wears Prada Members Go Post-Punk on New God Alone Song "Heavy Metal"". Revolver. 2018-06-28. Retrieved .
  28. ^ "Get to know Toronto band FRIGS ahead of their Red Bull Sound Select show". Red Bull. Retrieved .
  29. ^ Leggett, Penelope (2015-08-06). "Bully talks inspiration, recording, and vegetarian eats at Pitchfork Music Festival". The B-Side. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "Cover Story: His City of Ruins". Spin. 2014-08-04. Retrieved .
  31. ^ "Protomartyr - La Route du Rock". Retrieved .
  32. ^ "Relatives in Descent Album Review, Protomartyr". DrunkenWerewolf. 2017-10-03. Retrieved .

External links

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