Tag Archives: punk
Remember when “Indie Rock is Too White” was a thing? I try not to. Nor do I try to think much about the opposite discussion, how dare those white indie kids take inspiration from non-white music. Yes, they contradict each other and yet, internet people who considered themselves to be subject matter experts got caught up in both of these debates.
Still, those two internet discussions found their way to the top of my mind when I came across the new video for “Better” by Toronto industrial-punks Odonis Odonis. All it took was one listen to the funky bass line which drives “Better,” and the sudden realization that, “Well damnit, why don’t more bands look beyond the usual suspects for inspiration?” and I got hooked. For “Better” is not only better than the majority of punk jams released today, it’s a near perfect mashing of a sly groove and crashing sound effects. If only it ran for more than two minutes. Because, really, that’s hardly enough time to groove.
Baltimore’s Double Dagger always straddled that line between art-punk and workingman’s punk rock. No where is this more evident than on “Heretic’s Hymn” from the band’s posthumous album, 333 (due out via Thrill Jockey on RSD 4.20), where a minimal, bass groove literally explodes during the chorus, eventually becoming overwhelmed by a group roar in the sing along and drink along tradition. That’s the first half. The second half, of this seven-minute number, feeds their more artistic impulses, as spoken-word verses are accompanied by scattered drum hits, the occasional strum of a string and a constant hum. It’s not only one of the most epic pieces the trio have ever composed but also adds an exclamation point to the sentences of those who were thrilled when the band first announced they had finished up their leftover material for one more spin of the limited edition variety.
Orange County’s The Lovely Bad Things are right up my alley. They play infectious, hook-driven garage rock, sounding like a mixture of The Soviettes, Pretty Girls Make Graves and The Pixies. They also appeal to the geek in me by referencing Star Wars and Macho Man Randy Savage on three of their song titles. They even have an image of Bigfoot on the album cover.
The Pixies influence is strong on “Fried Eyes” (below) with spoken-word vocals and the laid-back, Kim Deal bass line. “Hear or Anywhere” (also below) the opening track from their new album, The Late Great Whatever, starts the album off right with sugar-sweet female vocals and pounding drums. The Late Great Whatever is out now on Volcom. For all of the analog lovers out there you can get this on cassette as well from Burger Records.
The Lovely Bad Things – Fried Eyes from The Late Great Whatever (2013)
The Lovely Bad Things – Hear or Anywhere from The Late Great Whatever (2013)
Not much is known about the Italian duo, aptly named — at least at this point in their career — Wildmen. Their single “Haters Gonna Hate,” which comes off their self-titled debut, sounds like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club meets the Black Lips with a dash of Black Flag. It starts out with a gentle folk progression that quickly ramps up to an all-out garage anthem that’ll cultivate some serious self-confidence.
STREAM: Wildmen – “Haters Gonna Hate”
At a house in East Austin, near the corner of Chicano and Cesar Chavez, Romantic Rock Designs hosted an unofficial SXSW party featuring a fashion show, art showcase and punk rock concert. The Goodnight Darlings (NYC), The Stand Alones (ATX), Walk the Plank (DC) and Broken Gold (ATX) were all to play in the backyard on a stage that was built the day before, making for an extremely intimate setting. Between sets, models would show off the ‘pin-up’ inspired clothing-line, using the pathway between the house and the garage as their catwalk. No sponsor labels were to be found anywhere, just friends, art, music and good times–a shining example of what SXSW is really all about.
While all of the bands sounded great, Walk the Plank took the place by storm. During soundcheck, Alex Reimer (guitar) double checked his amp rig by playing the opening riff to Minor Threat’s “I Don’t Wanna Hear It,” as if to proclaim DC’s presence in Austin–I knew it was about to get real. The band opened with “93 South,” one of their more upbeat numbers containing an opening riff exuding late 70s punk. After the first song someone in the crowd exclaimed, “That was fucking awesome!” Honest passion and enthusiasm could clearly be felt from the guys as they powered through their set, showcasing their big, raw and energetic sound. Ian Crocker (vocals) is clearly no stranger to the stage; the man was all over the place, jumping on and off stage and weaving in and out of the crowd, getting everyone involved. At one point I was afraid he was going to tangle himself up on his microphone cable and topple over. After their set, I overheard someone tell them, “It’s clear you guys have a certain integrity about what you’re doing.” Well said, sir, whomever you are.
Thanks to Zappy Springs for the above photo.
STREAM: Walk The Plank – “Settling”