Ex-Speedy Ortiz Guitarist Devin McKnight's New Project Maneka Premieres Solo-Heavy Punk Jam 'Dracula'

Daniel Topete


Last month, beloved indie-punks Speedy Ortiz announced the departure of their axeman Devin McKnight, whose intricate shredding been a staple of their recorded output and live show since 2014. It was a shame to see the lineup behind Speedy’s excellent 2015 record Foil Deer shaken up, but on the bright side, McKnight left so he could focus on finding his own voice. 

Enter Maneka, his new solo project, in which he composes every vocal and instrumental part. Stereogum shared Maneka’s debut single “Tiger Baby” last month, and now Billboard presents a second offering from the forthcoming Is You Is EP. Below, check out “Dracula.”

"This comes from a baked musing in my head,” McKnight tells Billboard. “I’m getting older. I’ve got back pains and grey hairs. I started to wonder what it was like for the living dead to never be able to die but just keep getting older and older. It sounds rough.” 

Aside from serenading the eternal undead, McKnight shows off his uncanny ability to navigate a four-minute song with shape-shifting guitar. After rumbling along for two minutes, we’re treated to chugging metallic buildup and a heroic closing solo, along with guest vocals from Katie Capri from the Brooklyn band Fern Mayo. 

Regarding the solo, McKnight says, “I’d been binge watching the old 90210 and digging the cheesy metal guitars that essentially score the entire show."

For more, check out Is You Is, which is up for pre-order ahead of its Sept. 1 arrival on Exploding In Sound Records. 


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