Them Are Us Too
Them Are Us Too was formed in the Bay Area in 2009 by Kennedy Ashlyn and Cash Askew. Their early limited edition demos and intimate performances gained them a cult following within independent music circles as a young, new take on the revered “4AD sound” of dreamy goth-pop anthems. With a nod to 80’s shoegaze sensibilities, Them Are Us Too created songs about tragedy and loves-lost that drew devoted listeners to their nostalgic and innocent sound. Ethereal guitars combined with ghostly synths and elegant vocals form the core of the band’s sound, under which a steady drum machine keeps the groove. Kennedy Ashlyn’s vocals have been repeatedly compared to Kate Bush, Harriet Wheeler, and Elizabeth Fraser, with a pitch-perfect octave range carrying songs gracefully between optimistic joy and undisturbed melancholia – all within one moment of verse. Guitarist Cash Askew painted a layered and complex backdrop using signature reverberation and washes of stringed ambient tones, akin to Robin Guthrie, Ronny Moorings, and Kevin Shields.
Them Are Us Too signed with Dais Records and put out their debut LP Remain in 2015, when both members were only 21 years old. But Them Are Us Too masked their irrepressible youth underneath their limitless imagination and unparalleled talent. This manifested in Remain, an album with effortless simplicity, vernal drive, and perfectly executed songwriting. The album crafted a massive yet seraphic sound with a heartbreaking nostalgia into 8 songs of uncompromising and immaculately orchestrated beauty.
Tragically, Cash Askew passed away in the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland in December of 2016, sending a shockwave of loss through our community. While Kennedy Ashlyn would eventually emerge as a solo artist through her project SRSQ, there were unfinished Them Are Us Too recordings and demos that Kennedy and those close to Cash felt deserved be heard in her memory.
Kennedy returned to the studio with producer Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv), Sunny Haire (Cash’s stepfather), Matia Somovich (INHALT), and Anya Dross (Cash’s girlfriend) to complete unfinished demos and sketches, write new compositions, and honor Cash Askew. The result is “AMENDS”: an album of tragic beauty and depth that tugs at emotions and inspires.
In Kennedy’s own words:
“Amends is a collection of songs that would have been the second Them Are Us Too record. This release is an amendment to our catalogue cut short; a final gift to our family, friends, and fans who have supported us for the past 5 years. “Amends” is a collaborative effort between TAUT and some of Cash’s dearest friends and family, culminating in a final “thank you” and “goodbye.” Nothing will ever compensate for the loss of Cash, but as we struggle to put together the pieces of what the world is now, what life is now, I hope this record can help to fill in the gaps. And give us some amount of peace.”