New album 'You Could Call this Art' from the Tungs delivers perfect blend of punk and shoegaze

Posted by: Amy – Sep 01, 2015


Richmond is a breeding ground for innovation, creativity and art. The sounds that come out of our little river city are at times are hauntingly impressive and no less can be said of the band Tungs and their new album You Could Call This Art.

Tungs, is comprised of three musical powerhouses, Ben Miller, Paul Himmelman, and Matthew Thiem. Miller and Himmelman have been playing together for the past seven years. After moving through a few musical rifts, they finally arrived at Tungs.

When RVA Mag spoke to Miller, he told us that he has always had trouble describing his sound to people.

“My answers always change when people ask me,” Miller said. The best way he could describe it was a medley of sub genres of punk. The perfect blend of post punk, and shoegaze come together to give birth to what Miller describes as “bike punk.”

Tungs released the album this July via BadGrrrlRecords, a local label which Miller started a few years ago. You Could Call This Art is the band's fourth full-length LP since 2010. The new release is a followup to their album Not for Grandma, which was released last year.

The Tungs tend to improvise a lot during their sets and they wanted to incorporate that into their recordings. By having short and simple recording sessions, they were able to get most of their songs in one to two takes.

The art concept came about one day when Kara Groux, Miller’s girlfriend, was showing the band a few photos she had taken. They immediately fell in love with a self-portrait from when she was 16.

The image depicts a woman with a monkey’s head purchasing bananas at a grocery store.The artwork screams film noir with it’s black and white surrealism. Miller told us that’s what made the choice even more appropriate was that Himmelman always said “Tungs is a band of monkeys throwing shit at a wall.”

You Could Call This Art, is a collection of songs that they’ve been writing for the past year written during band practice.

“Though the set is a small one, we feel that it’s big in character and Richmond spunk,” Miller said.

Whether you’re a Richmond urbanite or a monkey trapped in a concrete jungle, this album certainly has something for everyone. Next time you go for a bike ride, pull out your music device of choice and delve into some “bike punk.”

The new Tungs album is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon. Downloa it on their bandcamp here.

Words by Heaton Johnson.