Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Single Life – 7” of Fun - Featuring The Shirks, Pistola, Stegosaur, and Junior Battles
Coming from Big Neck Records, I had a pretty good idea what this platter’s gonna sound like before I even put the needle to vinyl. One of the finest purveyors of rattling, grease-stained garage punk out there, The Shirks fit comfortably into their asylum. Each song here is an adrenaline-infused, learning-how-to-string-a-guitar blast of raw and primal garage punk. Rough, raw, indecent and probably banned in some countries, the Shirks ply their trade with unbridled adoration and love for all things ragged and fast. Put away your cerebral neurons and just go with it. Trashy good fun.
Don’t know if it’s just my copy or not, but this was one of the more creative packagings I’ve seen. A nifty, red vinyl 45 7” with a complete copy of the full-length CD dropped inside. Granted, they may have dropped that in just as a promo, but it’s still a cool concept. Buy the single, get the album.
Of course that only works if the single is worth buying, and fortunately this one is. “Chugs and Squeals” post-hardcore dissonant screamer of Helmet-styled aggression with some nasty pop smarts. “Danny Rowe,” kinda brings on a Blondie-meets-Quicksand-and-then-beats-the-shit-outta-them-in-a-public-restroom vibe of heavy guitars, strong melodies, and intent female vocals. Not metal, not pop, not indy, not post-anything core. Just music. Rocking, hard and soft at the same time. Don’t try and name it, just check it out.
Three song little ditty from these ernest pop/punk emo rockers. Riding big guitars, “Headache,” is catch and grating, ingratiating and infectious. Guitars wallop into walls of sound under the big nasal ride of the vocals. There’s no doubting the emotion here. Good dynamics mix the tune up enough to bring me along. “Big Breath,” ups the melodic aspects of the band, brimming like a nascent Weezer. Tones of Cursive pervade throughout. Second side’s “Bloooooood,” adds a beat of handclaps and gangland vocals to bring some quirk-pop to the affair, meshing it all into a massively engaging alt-pop affair. Vocals and guitars build with rising intensity, then drop back down, shifting the pattern, changing the tempo, keeping the ears hooked. This song clearly shows that Stegosaur are no plodding emo-imitation act, but got the chops to break through to a bigger audience.
Reading the bio of Junior Battles, it seems that the entire formation of the Toronto band and their subsequent success was a total accident, a sublime fluke of destiny that befell four teenaged lovers of old school pop-punk. Well, let me tell you, what’s happened to them since is no fluke. Launching into a rousing 4-song blitz of choppy guitars, soaring chorues, candy-melodies, and infectious grooves, the 13 minutes of this EP pass as effortlessly as listening to your old favorites. Each song is rooted in the hook, without sacrificing true dynamic to get there. Hooky, poppy and fun. Just the way pop-punk is supposed to be.