Local Release Roundup
Boxing Day 2019
Originally aired on Radical Beat Radio on Alternative Frequency (Thursday Mornings at 5am)
Red Hawk, 2019
One of the most PG-13 songs that Car Bomb Driver has ever written is about fast food, organised religion and global attitudes to labour and consumerism. Chick-Fil-A Is Closed On Sunday, Dave Reeder’s fantastic sandwich hunt EP opener unleashes a whole slew of topics for analyst nerds to get into. For example, the line “nobody gets a day off in India or China” led me to learn that Chick-Fil-A’s uniquely American mix of ideologies just recently launched beyond these shores. In October they opened a location in the English city of Reading (home of the famous festival), only to have any potential lease renewal ruled out in under a week due to pressure from gay rights groups. [Best Withnail impression] We’ll have none of that Biblical bigotry nonsense here! We would, however, happily allow a secular reason to keep a business closed on Sunday. Probably a good thing that CBD (not to be mistaken with the chicken-friendly Center for Biological Diversity) never perform outside a 15 mile radius of downtown St. Pete.
Okay, so these songs have nothing going on underneath the surface when it comes to message, except the incidental ability to mock pseudo-intellectuals like me who attempt to take a deep dive. Oftentimes bands that harp on about the lack of serious agenda in their music are sloppy and forgettable. Not so with CBD, who have perfected the art of playing silly but not dumb with a quarter century of rhythmic punk gigging. Not vocally aggressive enough to be hardcore, too instrumentally meaty to be considered pop, it’s a sweet spot that comes across almost as well on these 9 minutes of wax as it does watching them live. Car Bomb Dave is a brave auteur, daring to write openly of our worst instincts like the misogynist that lives inside even granola-crunching geeks on Ordinary Guy, while side B of this titleless titan is a family affair inspired by I Don’t Want To Grow Up-era Descendents, all sauce-drinking parents and shaking babies and catchy questioning of your own standards. Rest assured though, it’s all done for the kids in the end; release label Red Hawk Records is run by local 9 year old Charlie.
Thanks to Dave for the copy of the record, delivered to me in the dusty guts of the Tampa Bay Times. You can buy it from Red Hawk here.
The Low Five, 2019
I’d like to dive deeper into the lyrics of Jon “Dunedin Brewery” Ditty, but work and obligations bear down at all times. Knitted amidst the billion words printed in the sleeve of Factory Recall is the theme that Ditty is feeling much the same way on any given day. The man’s mind is buzzing from start to finish, trying to keep a weird elongated critical eye on the big power struggle issues and the personal minutiae. The politics slip in where they have space like a feed scan on a smoke break in an economy that never seems to pay enough or a referential retreat into the rock bands that used to bring you so much comfort (Less Than Jake, At The Drive In, Rage Against The Machine). Junk Mail is the namesake Circle Jerks track for the digital age and just as short, corporate spam another thing we don’t have time for in any sense. Ditty's voice is dope and there’s no time to chill. We’ll never be able to afford “the greyest of your poupons” in this service factory of instability. If your brain hurts from trying to follow Jon’s slapping lips focus on the lovely choruses, features from the likes of Reed Scahill and Ceschi Ramos, and the beats from DJ Hurley that are more easily appreciated on his new cut MAAT’, and great for when you need a break from working hard on the worthy and the not.
You can buy Factory Recall from Jon Ditty's website.
I daresay that a band named after a Crass song should have known better than to announce their hiatus on UK election night, even if I am the only person in the middle of that Venn diagram of really caring about both. Has a man not suffered enough?! It was hard to stay upset though, when the next night at their final planned gig Reality Asylum kindly gifted me their recent album Hyacinth Thrash (in a sexy orange number), and reminded why in those distant winter days of February 2018 I had described their music as “a soothing balm in the night.” The expertly layered bleeps, beats and squeaks that the band are known for are all here, somehow soft, warm, lush, menacing and banging all at once. Like the contrast to be found thrashing around in a field of bulbous, fragrant flowers, presumably. For all the justified bluster around what felt like wild ‘n fast Reality Asylum live performances there’s a majority of musically contemplative cuts present here, songs that poke around in your brain, whisper in your ear and lovingly slip their warm gloves around your neck. Reality takes hold, and in a final paradox, you embrace the darkness, and all the streaks of beauty that come along for the ride.
You can stream and buy Hyacinth Thrash on Bandcamp.