“Over the Counter” is a column by our music editor Peter Rittweger which focuses on new and interesting music that isn’t featured prominently on the blog-o-sphere. This edition examines new releases from Title Fight and Sick Feeling, plus an old record from The Men’s Ben Greenberg and an upcoming show from Couch Slut.
Punk Goes Shoegaze
It sounds like Title Fight are ditching adjectives like “punchy” for ones like “ethereal” on their new record, Hyperview, which will have more in common with Ride and My Bloody Valentine than Drive Like Jehu and Quicksand, if their latest singles are their new norm. The direction they take on “Chlorine,” “Rose of Sharon” and “Your Pain Is Mine Now,” reminds me of the direction another Pennsylvania hardcore kid, Nicky Palermo, took last year with Nothing, on their highly regarded LP “Guilty of Everything.” Less “-core” and more “-gaze.” It worked out pretty well for them. Hyperview drops February 3 via ANTI-. Title Fight will be in New York on an absurdly stacked bill with La Dispute and The Hotelier on March 27 at Webster Hall.
Collect Records’ newest signee, Sick Feeling are fed up with all of your emo nostalgia thinkpieces. They’re sick of hearing about your indie identity struggles and punk ideals. Their press material describes their debut record, which dropped yesterday, as “what it means to be young and fucked up and still turned off by self-defeating ennui.” Such sentiment is nothing new; one only has to look to their label co-founder’s latest release to hear the same line. Don Devore, Sick Feeling’s frontman, cut his teeth in The Icarus Line and Ink & Dagger, so it’s not shocking that he’d have some of the same hot buttons as Geoff Rickley (plus they were bandmates at one point.) But they go about expressing their disenfranchisement in different ways. The Next Four Years, was subtle satire, but it’s clear right from the get-go that Suburban Myth is in on all of the jokes. A troll would call this trend towards self-aware heavy punk rock post-post-hardcore. But I’m not a troll, so I’ll just say lyrics like “all the shots, all the drinks, another night, dig my ditch” are hilarious, it sounds fucking violent, you should buy it now, and go to their record release show with LE1F.
This Apparatus Must be Unearthed
If you listen close, you’ll notice that long, sweeping melodies were always at the root of The Men’s music, even on Leave Home. Everyone remembers “L.A.D.O.C.H.,” but the record also had “Shittin’ With The Shah” and “Night Landing,” the latter of which really wouldn’t sound too out of place on Tomorrow’s Hits if you cleaned up all the fuzz and threw in some keys. And that’s before Ben Greenberg replaced Chris Hansell, which has been sort of a popular narrative applied to The Men; that Greenberg, the classically trained guy from Zs and Hubble changed the band. I mean, Hansell still plays in a hardcore band, and The Men added a horn section, guys! It’s silly and lazy. If you listen to (one of) Ben Greenberg’s old bands, Pygmy Shrews, you’ll see that he and his new bandmates were on the same page back in early 2012; in punk bands with interesting ideas, but totally ready to do something new and more musically challenging with their big projects. Their 2009 record, The Egyptian is rough and noisier like “Leave Home,” but with more of a Magik Markers psych rock
kind of vibe to it. It fucking rips.
See this show
I wrote about Couch Slut last week, but my words and and a Bandcamp stream don’t really do justice to the brutality that is a live set from our borough’s newest subversive punks. Neither does (((unartig)))’s video, but it’s the closest approximation I could embed here. Fortunately, they’re playing Saint Vitus on Friday night and tickets are still available.