Sex With Strangers: Prototypical Punks From Our Dystopic Future


Sex With Strangers is the greatest band you’ve never heard of. You have not been blessed with their presence because it is the year 2023 and this is being beamed to you via a transmitter and some ultrasonic brain waves. Behind them, a red curtain. In front, a small crowd of beer-sipping humanoids (or so they’re called). Welcome to the future.

In all seriousness, I am surprised more people have not heard of SWS (as they are commonly known). They have played Rifflandia, Junofest, NXNE, Shambhala, Sled Island, CMJ, Halifax Pop Explosion, and SXSW – Twice. And, they do it all without a publicist. They are there own everything. Started out of the ashes of another post-punk band – Harvey Switched – this 5-member unit of musical scientists began in 2007 and has worked tirelessly creating crazy antics wherever they go.

They describe their sound as “dystopic rock”. I’m still not entirely sure what that is but I would to have to agree with that label. Their songs do have a futuristic feel to them. Along with the influences of the early days of punk, the music of SWS contains a solar flare of garage rock. Lead singer Hatch Benedict is a slightly overweight middle-aged man-child with a penchant for mooning and playing with the audience. Co-lead singer and keyboard player Alexis Young, brings some youthful sanity to go along with these late-thirties teenagers. Not only is Young half the age of the rest of group – she is 23 – she is also the only one to not have a “punk name”.

Alexis was not an original member of the band, but joined in 2011 after playing a handful of shows with her future bandmates. Upon being asked what is was like to join a group already in progress Aleixs comments ” It was easy – like a having a baby”. Given her age, this lead Hatch to quip “having her in the band is literally like having a baby”. Ah, good to see their is still love making the rounds in punk music.

Their newest album is “Behaviours” and is, in many ways, a return to their roots. All the band members contributed to the writing and creative process, which gives them a more well-rounded sound while at the same time infusing their punk abilities with their earlier albums’ dance rock sounds. It is the “sonic equivalent of a Swiss army knife”. A unique musical orgasm. The show started off slow, but by the end of their 27-minute set (how punk of them), you were fixated on the sexy flab of Hatch. Their venue choice was appropriate, but I also think they would’ve sounded better in a place with slightly better acoustics.

Sex (as I’ve just decided to call them), just release a music video to their title track, which is a look at what the musical future of our environmental destruction could like. It was made by the same guys who created the documentary “The Union” – which was about the future of marijuana. A great collaboration. These guys will own our future and you best be prepared to submit to them now.

Behaviours was released on November 26, 2012.

RIYL: Any punk band from the 1980s and the 2030s.

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