Sounding lean, wiry, and frantic as they spit out fuzzy bad-vibe anthems of bitterness and accusation, Ex-Cult are a fierce punk rock band from Memphis. The group was formed in 2011 by vocalist Chris Shaw, formerly of Vile Nation, and drummer Michael Peery, who worked with the band Magic Kids. Recruiting bassist Natalie Hoffmann and guitarists J.B. Horrell and Alec McIntyre, the new band took the name Sex Cult and released its first single through respected Memphis punk label Goner Records in September 2011. Shaw had struck up a friendship with San Francisco garage punk guru Ty Segall, and after Segall saw Sex Cult perform at the 2012 South by Southwest Music Conference, he volunteered to produce the band's first album. The group took Segall up on his offer, and headed to San Francisco for sessions with Segall and engineer Eric Bauer, but not before changing its name to Ex-Cult. Ex-Cult's self-titled debut album was released by Goner in late 2012, and earned enthusiastic reviews from the music press. Following extensive touring, including a string of dates opening for Segall, Ex-Cult began work on their second album, and Midnight Passenger arrived in April 2014. The group hit the road with a vengeance after the LP dropped, and in July 2014, Ex-Cult announced they'd changed their lineup, with Hoffmann out and Frank McLallen in on bass. After another visit to the recording studio, Ex-Cult had a new EP to add to their catalog, and Cigarette Machine was released by Castle Face Records in February 2015. After Shaw took time out to record an album with GØGGS, a band he formed with Segall and Fuzz's Charles Moothart, Ex-Cult went back to California for a week to record with Segall again. The resulting album, Negative Growth, was released by Goner in September of 2016.
by Mark Deming