Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Drug Wars on Grizzly Records

This is a great cover, by Drug Wars, 3 color spraypaint job on some pressed particle board, it screams punk DIY. Making something out of nothing, that never gets old. Playing guitar, bass and drums at a frantic pace, with a Hot Snakes feel never gets old.

This San Diego based band has a lengthy genealogy, having played in a million other bands, and are most definitely on the other side of the fence when it comes to lo-fi, which I guess, as much as I don't want to admit it, has been co-opted by everyone to describe what's happening by a majority of the stuff I've been talking about. Would it matter if all these trendy guys were recorded straight? Probably...I wonder if Times New Viking stripped down without the 2" tape peaking if the songs would stand up? I'll never know...they made a choice to take that sound to an end game point. OK, they made a point. But it won't be recreated live either...I've seen it. So where does that leave Drug Wars? Well, you can clearly hear every note, and I wonder if I'll be going back to this more than I will the hissy garage mess of recent? It's a trend, I know...but it's interesting, even if it's just referencing that era of home recording with $4000 laptops and effects settings...I liked it.
So Drug Wars basically is following that post punk, anti-trend line of thought....what does that mean? Intelligent, unpredictable melodic lines, irregular rhythms, time signatures...a huge bass sound that's waving around, you can hear each hit...like someone is really pounding on the strings, getting this metallic twang on every note. The buried vocals are where this essentially works, the yelling and energy never gets too abrasive, or overpowering the music itself...again it's messing with the standard arrangement, subtly...lyrics, like song titles are pretty interchangeable...if you want to get down to that level and read my diary...well go ahead, but it's not necessary to get it right away. But it's there to take this to the next level. It's about the music, everyone's contribution.
Further 'post'-ing out like Austerity Program or Don Cab, they are foregoing the song naming process all together...what's the fucking point? Throw some numbers on them already, let's get to writing the next one. In fact the first side 9 and 8 run together in such a great way, I almost don't notice it every time, just barely sounds like a song change and not just another chorus variation. There's thought in these songs construction...it's easy to hear right away. 8 is the stand out track for me on the single, the one that makes me start rocking out at the keyboard, already thinking about playing this side just one more time to make sure I caught everything.

Besides having a name that's damn hard to google and come up with anything relevant, it's the best kind of post-hardcore-punk-rock, made enjoyable to listen to, clear, pounding, well constructed, not jumping on any bandwagons, or following trends...these guys get together and recapture some things that were happening 10 years ago, and they happen to do an amazing job of it, it's up there with the Drive like Jehu, Husker Du, even Fugazi...come on. Hot Snakes pulled together a bunch of genres and sounds together that I wasn't really thinking about at the time and made it all sound good...hell I will always be able to sing LAX, and suicide invoice in my head weather I like it or not. I had to reconsider a lot of bands after unconsciously loving everything they put out.

4 Tracks named 9, 8, and 46 all at 33 1/3, a proper punk EP, all of them are available to preview at their myspace...the melodies have been creeping into my head ever since. It's almost a shame actually, the quality is so god damn bad, if you go back and listen to the vinyl...shit it's like the lo-fi version of these guys...and you already know how they feel about that.

All of this is available from Grizzly Records for 4.50!!

Drug Wars
500 7 inch copies $4.50

1. 9
2. 8
3. 4
4. 6


  1. definitely sounds very san diego. need to pick this up.

  2. side two is 4 and 6. two separate songs again very hard to tell where the change is, but it's there.
    LOVE these guys and this 7 inch.

  3. Thanks, I saw it titled '46' on their myspace...maybe it's both songs back to back over there?
    I try.