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SXSW Six Pack: US Weekly

Posted by March 8th, 2017 No Comments »

By Paul Stinson

Electronic ticks turned ticking time-bombs. Bruce Lee’s ‘no way as way’ reinterpreted as ‘no wave as wave’ –follow the energy of a bursting punk rock spleen, take the pulse of America’s internet pathologies, find US Weekly.

Anchored by the insistent guitar lines punched out by Ryan Fitzgibbon –synced up to a perfectly irregular heartbeat of Kent Hale (drums) and Ryan Curtis (bass) – vocalist/keyboardist Chris Nordahl is a lit match touring a block of houses in a bad neighborhood rife with gas leaks, exploding on xenophobia, misogyny, racism, transphobia and John Law.

Lauded by the UK’s New Music Express for a capacity to captivate during 2016 SXSW, Austin’s danceable punk rock aneurysm returns March 15 to SXSW for an 11:45 p.m. showcase gig at Hotel Vegas as the band revs up for the release of their first-ever full length.

Following a stream of 2016 releases –including a joltingly impressive Ideas EP— the 12-track manifesto for weathering the digital age asks the age-old question: dance party, then smash the state, or the other way around?

Vocal shrapnel turned vocal hooks and guitar hooks balanced against futuristic iTunes genre defiance are the band’s hallmark, prominently on display on the upcoming album’s “New Obsessions” –vaulting from tirade to danceable chorus-pedal/keyboard detours and back to harmonic interludes, heavy breathing and a collective hurrumph of friend-request exasperation laid at the doorstop of social media. New obsessions. New obsessions.

Expected for late April release, melody and fury pervade throughout the new album; the raspy vocals on ‘Women’ tell you they’re fed up and have had enough, the grooves and rhythm tell the hips to keep moving, the heart to keep pounding. Band would have opened for Joy Division, and no one would have complained about having to wade through an opening act to get there.

“Outside Relaxing” is a tack-spitting tractor beam coupling Sex Pistols urgency with a Public Image Ltd. whimsy, twisting and turning from guitar to keys to beat and back. Ask for an explanation at your own risk.

Closing track and frequent set-closer “Percocet” pushes the pain away delivering riff after riff, vocal punch after punch, pushing mediocrity up against the ropes, before dropping it like a no-account chump in the first round.

All genres and no genres all at once. High velocity and taking liberties to jolt a listener into unexpected directions, beats, segues, silences and tones, this is the tea cup ride at Disneyland, the energy filling out the vessel unexpectedly, inexplicably and seamlessly. No way as way, no wave as punk tidal wave.

#SXSW2017 Set Times

  • 3/15, 11:45 p.m. @ Hotel Vegas (Official showcase)
  • 3/16, 3 p.m. @ Beerland

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