Chicago dark dance trio Pixel Grip has a thumping new album out today called Arena that couldn’t come at a more perfect time. It’s a celebration of queer and gothic nightlife that arrives just as clubs are getting ready to reopen and people are clamoring to make social connections.
The music on Arena feels like you’ve been dropped into a dark, thrilling nightclub where you’ll meet fascinating characters and do things you don’t want your parents to know about. The tempo on Arena remains mostly pumped for the dancefloor, but there are softer, hazier moments perfect for stumbling to the bathroom or taking a break on the couch.
In a recent interview with Chicago Reader, here’s how they describe the album: “We wrote the songs envisioning a sea of people and what we wanted them to do on the downbeat. It’s about pure energy. What’s going to make them push each other and sweat and twerk?”
Arena includes three excellent pre-release singles: “Alphapussy,” “Pursuit,” and “Demon Chaser.” The incredible music and video for “Demon Chaser” features Chicago trans icon Monāe, who performs a fierce, rhythmic poem about sexual fantasy.
Pixel Grip is comprised of programmer Jonathon Freund, vocalist Rita Lukea, and drummer Tyler Ommen. Arena is their second full-length, following their 2019 debut, Heavy Handed.