CNTS is a noisy punk band from Los Angeles, CA, composed of past/current members of Dead Cross, Qui, Retox, Festival Of Dead Deer, Planet B, Satanic Planet, and more. They first appeared on the LA underground scene in early 2018 earning a reputation for their blistering and intense (and often violent) live shows, before releasing their debut self-titled LP on Ipecac Recordings in 2019. After their brief hiatus, CNTS returned in 2023 with a new single and plenty of touring, including a run with OFF! Now, the band is preparing to release their second full length.

After a whirlwind of tragedies, both global and personal, guitarist and producer Mike Crain (Dead Cross, Retox, Festival Of Dead Deer), drummer Kevin Avery (Retox, Planet B), vocalist Matt Cronk (Qui) and new members are back with their second album release for Ipecac Recordings, Thoughts & Prayers (29th March).

Following a devastating car accident in which frontman Matt Cronk lost his vocal cord – couldn’t speak, let alone sing – the band thought they might have to call it a day. During this period the members of CNTS pursued other projects until early 2023 when, against the predictions of his doctors, Cronk’s injured vocal cord began to heal and within two months his voice returned. By March, CNTS felt confident that they could give it another go.

“We got together and ran through a song and it sounded good.  We kept playing and my voice held up, sounded cool, and we all felt good playing together.  It was clear immediately that we could do it again, that we’d really missed playing together and we wanted to do it.” says Cronk. “Personally, the experience was a significant marker in my recovery. I got a little teary after that first song.”

Reinvigorated by Cronk’s recovery, CNTS spent the rest of the year hard at work on their new record, Thoughts & Prayers, the title inspired by the banality of our collective reaction to crises. With a great deal of inspiration from their recent challenges, CNTS have channeled several years of frustration and hardship into a well articulated and aggressive statement. Songs such as “Smart Mouth,” and “Thoughts & Prayers,” chronicle Cronk’s pain and anger throughout his various injuries and subsequent recovery. “I Don’t Work For You,” and “Eating You Alive,” deal with the inequity inherent in modern life. “For A Good Time (Don’t Call Her)” is a screed about the age-old theme of fighting with one’s romantic partner.

Cronk speaks on how his accident impacted his approach to writing lyrics this time around – “I’ve always felt a need to write things that are oblique and strange, weird for the sake of weird. For this record I tried to write simpler lyrics that wouldn’t be hard to understand. Having lost my voice, I spent a lot of time feeling frustrated that nobody could understand me. Once I had it back, I wanted everyone to hear exactly what I mean. I think the lyrics are a lot less “clever,” or deliberately confusing. It was not very comfortable for me but I’m really happy with the results.”

Guitarist Michael Crain adds, “This record is incredibly more refined and thought out. I really wanted to have SONGS on this record. Hooks. Choruses. Shit I listen to. In all times of confusion or indecision during the making of this album we’d stop and ask ourselves… What would AC/DC do?”

Equal parts catharsis and blood-letting, CNTS as a live entity is an unapologetic display of rage and sex, of belligerence and contempt, a warm gob of spit in the eye, all done with a sarcastic smile.

The future belongs to CNTS.


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