It’s Disgruntled Rock Thursday, dickheads!…
Mark Sinker: In the 1973 French film Themroc, a blue-collar French household reverts first to savagery, then cannibalism, inspiring everyone in the block and then the banlieu to follow gleeful suit. It’s a political satire, I suppose — a furious refusal of the dreary prison of working-class life and culture and possibility, and no sense of a sane way out, but there’s a kind of wild joy to it too, as more and more families punch the walls out of their apartment buildings and gather round caveman campfires howling at the night-sky, for the end of all social rules. Not much fun for the grandchildren though, or (more to the point here) from them: the rules to prove you remember symbolically to disdain the forgotten conventions seem to press down a thousand times more suffocatingly.
Josh Langhoff: NOno! NO! NO!NO! nononoNO! NO! NO!NO! noNO! NO!noNO! NOno!NO!NO! NOno!NO!NO! noNO! NO! noNO!NO! nobody can do… NIHILISM THAT’S KIND OF DRAGGY BUT MAYBE THAT’S THE IDEA!!!… like I do… except Mudhoney…
Jonathan Bogart: If you don’t bother, why should I?
Martin Skidmore: There is a sense that they want to make an immense amount of noise here, but the music plods clumsily rather than attacks. I detect no aggression or edge from hearing what is just about as much dead heritage rock as Oasis.
Zach Lyon: Half-assed attempt at reviving the spirit of old Black Flag or Refused tracks, without any of the emotion or irony. A song about apathy should still inspire more than just apathy.
Chuck Eddy: Pulled out both their 2005 Shallow album-or-is-it-an-EP and 2006 “Don’t Need Smoke To Make Myself Disappear”/”Love Clown” 45 earlier this summer, and was surprised to find that I still liked them both enough not to add them to the ebay pile I may or may not ever get around to actually ebaying. But everything I’ve heard since has just hit me as plodding, empty sludge, and even though I hear some remnant of a song in here (singer doesn’t wannna get off his butt and get dressed and take beers to a party or some such, right?), this is basically the same. I’m not sure I can pinpoint what’s been lost; maybe they bogged down when they heavied up, maybe they succumbed to the lure of the moshpit, maybe the drummer and bassist got left behind when the guitarist learned more chops, maybe they started trying too hard and believed the hype, I have no idea. All I know is, if you’re going to base your career on being a middling Flipper ripoff band, getting the rhythm down is kind of important. As are hooks, believe it or not. And songs memorable after they’re done. So anyway, as much as I do want Allentown to represent (having attended many youth hockey practices there), these young drunks are still no match for Lansing’s great Red Swan in the 21st Century pigfuck revival sweepstakes.
Asher Steinberg: It’s funny; since I was 3 and my parents told me that John Lennon, my favorite Beatle, had been dead for the past 8 years, I’ve always hated any and all rock and/or what I like to call, with a great sense of prideful ignorance, “music with guitars” (also “music made by non-Swedish white people”). Singles Jukebox is really broadening my horizons. I think I’ll favorably compare Pissed Jeans to the great Stalin-era Russian fictionalist Daniil Kharms, who wrote these beautiful 1-2 page short stories about old women tumbling out of windows because they wanted to see what was going on on the other side of the road, and people conking each other over the head with cucumbers and dying — in short, hyper-quotidian mayhem. Which is what this song is all about. Like Kharms, this song should be a gimmick, would be in the hands of practically anyone else, i.e. “wouldn’t it be funny if we made a really loud hardcore punk song but it was about being a couch potato, haha” — but this is not that. This is about one man’s profound disinterest in going to the gym, looking good in a tight black shirt, trying to be everybody’s favorite partygoer by showing up with the coldest six-pack, etc. And I completely buy it. (Not that it isn’t partly tongue-in-cheek too, but it wouldn’t be so funny if it weren’t.) The bit about the coldest six-pack is an especially winning and humorous detail, and carries the song a long way from a mere expression of vague disdain for social conventions to something specific and real. Perhaps what I like the most about it is that the singer doesn’t offer some stupid critique of the gym, parties, six-packs or tight black shirts, complain that he feels unwelcome in such environs, or even suggest that these are places where he’d really rather not be — he just says that he doesn’t bother. This is the red-blooded masculine opposite of MCR’s wilted emo brand of apathy on ‘Na Na Na’ (the loathsome part about letting the world explode); this is music I can really get behind.
Iain Mew: Humourless and punishing, this brings up the always tricky question of how to grade a song when “unpleasant to listen to” seems to have been the aim throughout its creation. Do you applaud the act for reaching their target? Or react to the fact that said target is pretty stupid and passé? The occasional respite and semblance of structure here means they can actually be failed on both counts.
Mallory O’Donnell: Lord knows I’m no hardcore fan, but this has an appealing meat-head quality and a pure sludge production value that owes more to biker metal and cheap weed than tinny lo-fi. It’s punk proper east coast style : catchy like herpes, bitter like that last backwash-heavy swig of a Carlo Rossi jug.
Katie Lewis: Musically focused, driven, and composed, yet the flailing yells of apathy and nonsensical chorus lend to a wavering fear that the whole shebang could still fall apart at any second.
Michaelangelo Matos: Fuck if I know why all of a sudden this band, which I have never, ever cared about, sounds like life itself. Maybe because I’M SICK OF INVOICING FOR MONEY I NEVER FUCKING RECEIVE or something.