Extra Life
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Extra Life

Band Alternative Avant-garde


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"Band to Watch - Extra Life"

Extra Life's Secular Works arrived unknown in our mailbox and quickly found its way into regular rotation. The New York group is fronted by guitarist/vocalist Charlie Looker, who spent six years in ZS, has played with Mick Barr, was a one-time member of Dirty Projectors (he performs on Rise Above), and has worked with Anthony Braxton, Glenn Branca, William Parker, Tyondai Braxton, Daniel Carter, etc. In Extra Life, he taps into a mesmerizing form of avant-rock raga, repeating words, and shifting into a windswept, entrancing post-punk throat singing. The sounds are fleshed out with drums, bass, saxophone, keyboard, violin.

The first song to catch our attention is opener "Blackmail Blues," which hit us like a darker, heavier take on Dirty Projectors (backed by Torch Of The Mystics Sun City Girls).

The vocals rat-a-tatting with the drums at the end of "Blackmail Blues," the upward offerings of "The Refrain" -- these are master works. The album itself is called Secular Works, but this stuff feels somehow religious in its fervor. - Stereogum

"Extra Life"

"Secular Works is terrifying. Often more terrifying the closer you get... - Plan B

"Extra Life - Secular Works (album review)"

Tension and restraint. Adornment and shedding. These are the balances that define Extra Life’s fantastic full-length debut, Secular Works. Fronted by former Zs guitarist Charlie Looker, Extra Life is an assembly of musical approaches: humming strings set over fiercely metallic rhythm sections, meditative chants merged with sparse atonalities, juxtapositions between silence and drone. It’s a quintessential fusion work, in a sense, invading sonic boundaries with little regard for convention. Unlike most fusion music, however, Extra Life makes these boundaries seem encompassing and organic...

.. Looker’s sense of arrangement and composition melds each sound into a gripping work where fear and urgency loom within each track.

Music aside, the most dynamic device of Secular Works is Looker’s vocals, which toggle from bedroom-confessional to Georgian chant. His incredible range has the ability to repeat, carry, and dive all within a single measure...

... albums like Secular Works, that are so expertly stitched and synthesized, are far between. It creates an aesthetic so grave and completely realized that it’s with the best sense of anxiety that I anticipate where Extra Life goes next.
- Tinymixtapes

"Top 5 Brooklyn Bands to Know About (2009)"

Polyrthmic indie with dark lyrical themes and industrial metal-tinged riffs. Singer Charlie Looker’s warbling, medieval mantras are as chilling as they are exciting. - Esquire Magazine

"Extra Life - Secular Works (album review)"

First things first: this is a deep, dark, tremendous record. Extra Life is fixed around guitarist and vocalist Charlie Looker, formerly of Zs and Dirty Projectors (coincidentally his vocal style is very similar to that of Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth). There’s a distinctly European, medieval tone to his very intricate arrangements, and Looker proves himself as a learned student of composition throughout. The production is superb. The guitars are unbelievably penetrating, the drums are deliberate and powerful, and Looker’s voice cuts through the din like a knife. There aren’t swathes of noise or distortion but instead an incredible tapestry of complex guitar lines and purposeful repetition. The flourishes of strings are barely noticeable at first, but on repeat listens it becomes clear how much they contribute to the structure of particular tracks. See You At The Show goes through some intriguing phases and finale Bled White relies on Looker’s unique vocals, but the two standouts here are undoubtedly the two ten-minute tracks in its centre, I’ll Burn and This Time. The latter is simply a devastating track second for second, and sums up the album quite efficiently; nihilistic, destructive, but entirely captivating. Highly recommended. - Rave Magazine

"Extra Life at Empty Bottle"

“Secular Works was full of imposing, awe-inspiring shifts in tone from punk to medieval folk. It's post-rock in the best and most literal sense.” - TimeOut Chicago

"Extra Life - Secular Works (album review)"

Charlie Looker has issued every rock band in existence a very serious challenge: write music as inventive and natural as the stuff on Secular Works or get the hell off the stage. I'm certain that this album spells the end for nearly every math-rock band in existence.

Secular Works is the kind of record that will catch a lot of people off guard; it has to seep into the skin over the long run, but the impressive punches and immediate gratification is also supplies should be enough to draw most people into its gravity. Technically, it's the most accomplished record I've heard this year. On the whole, it's one of the most impressively adventurous and satisfying records in my collection; one of those rare blends of experimentation and quality song-writing that succeeds on every conceivable level.” - Brainwashed


"SECULAR WORKS" (full-length CD/LP, Planaria Recordings 2008)
"A SPLIT" (vinyl split EP with Nat Baldwin, Shatter Your Leaves Records 2008)
"MADE FLESH" (full length CD, Loaf Records, March 2010)



Before Extra Life, I was a core member of legendary underground avant NYC noise band ZS. I was also a member of Dirty Projectors for a while. Extra Life brings together the harsh confrontational complexity of ZS with the melodic vocal sensitivity of Dirty Projectors. But we've gained worldwide respect because we really sound like no other band around. Our sound is a complete mindfuck, and yet accessible at the same time. From cute indie college kids to perverse metal goth kids, people are moved by Extra Life, even when they don't know why.