Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Cincinnati invaded my turntable over the weekend and left me in a state of gratifying amnesia, where you know you had a life altering experience but can’ quite remember the details. The Socials and the Subsets display the extremely lethal prowess of a new hybrid of surf punk, emerging from the poisonous shores of the Ohio River. The last time I was in this eccentric city was the hazy spring of 1999, playing the Punk Rock Prom with my band on a weekend tour. Halfway through the mind numbing 8-hour drive to our destination of debauchery, we filled up at the Ohio border with gasoline and armfuls of malt liquor. Soon enough we arrived at our stay in an off-campus dwelling to get ready for the show, which ended abruptly after I cut the set short and jumped into a cover of “Cherry Bomb”, with some sinister Midwest girls singing along. Shortly after, I had an intoxicated altercation and annihilated my lower leg, which would end up causing me to limp for weeks. I woke up the next morning and drank all day with our merch guy while spinning records, swilling moonshine, and desperately attempting recovery through high octane stimulants. Jump to 2013 and I find this city grabbing my leg through the sewer grate in Long Beach with a grip of nonchalant violence and head twisting screams of melodic dissatisfaction with the world.

Yeah, you know it, both of these must have EPs are on slick black vinyl with badass cover art and inserts. The Socials just fucking floor me every time I hear them. “The Beast Bites” EP opens with “GoVermont”, this tune strangles the kill switch with Mrs. Communication’s incredibly catchy vocal surrounded by art-damaged guitars of seductive feedback noise. “Hot Tips” keeps the cheap high going with a swift deconstruction of pop/rock format dying to let the basement burn. With its intense dynamics in pulsating bass and drums, this band knows the razorblade filled apples they are peddling. Andy Slob, legendary Junk Records sometimes in-house producer, captures the “fuck tomorrow” atmosphere that embraces cheap mascara, noise pollution, and the intensity of a band at its prime. The B-Side continues the macabre pop noise with a devious nod to classic bands like Red Scare and early Fastbacks. “Nouvelle Technologie” and “The Future has Let Me Down Again” embrace the disinterest and fabricated fear of the 20-teens in their acupuncture delivery of Art Damaged Punk. This maladjusted orphan loves vintage “new wave”, the kind that wasn’t on the radio way back when… consume, now.

The Socials

The Subsets give you a new facelift minus the anesthesia, with four head slamming tracks of mysterious surf riffing and fingernail scratching vocals, all in perfect harmony that are the “Ape Facin’” EP. These noisemakers take cues from such long forgotten greats as “The Left” and “Black Market Baby” , while keeping the punker than punk tunes in a sharp and dirty rock n roll focus. My personal favorites off this black leather jacket of vinyl mayhem are “I Don’t Wanna Be Here” and title track “Ape Facin’”.

I think of the Midwest’s alluring appearances, like the city these bands reside in. You look at the clear skyline, trees, and seemingly placid water flow along the shores. However, you don’t recognize the unspeakable nightmares that lie underneath the surfaces. When you do encounter them, chances are it’ll be too late. The addictive noise of the Socials and the Subsets will be playing in your mind while you gasp the last breath of your “old life”. Enjoy.

-Kevin McGovern, 2013 Fear & Loathing LB Facebook

The Subsets