Friday, March 29, 2013
The Blank Postcards on Smashing Laptops Records
It would take a forgotten, overlooked corner of the NY scene like Staten Island to come up with something that jumps from punk to B-Movies to instrumental surf like this single from The Blank Postcards. The usual disparaging Staten Island remarks aside there are a lot of reasons it should play a bigger role in evolving bands in NY: the cost of living, the beach (!?), and the distance to no less than one million venues to play nightly. Staten Island could easily evolve into the Oakland of Williamsburg…the garage punk capital of the five boroughs. Once everywhere else has become condos and artisanal shoppe’s Staten Island will be the last holdout that’s within rock throwing distance of what once made the city great.
"Dance of the Shitheads" the opening track on the A-Side is a jangly instrumental like the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet Kids in the Hall track. Manically bouncing along with a strong lead electric melody that evolves with lots of fast finger surf work. Someone needs to steal this for opening credits; this is dying for sketch quirk to be layered in over this. Surf and summer sounds, leaning towards sheer pop, like Rocket from the Crypt; it has a sort of rockabilly, country shakedown feel. Put together with spit and polish. It gets a little bit more indie rock sounding as it goes but an intriguing way to open your single. It’s a delicate, optimistic and precisely crafted track that in hindsight sets things off in an unexpected direction. "You're a Swamp" then gets much bigger; the guitars are severely distorted and screeching feedback in the background, Justin is yelling talky vocals in a kind of Deadbolt style, siding up to a tiki, beach movie sound. They should get together with the Junk Food Dinner guys, it’s a bowling shirt, greaser sound that actually has me thinking about that Allen Moore Swamp Thing series. They’re driving a punchy punk with fired up vocals, almost Devo-ish in not really trying to be weird. Their nailing a proclamation over and over ….you’re a swamp? Maybe gross or literally somehow. I can’t help but picture hot rods and zombies.
B-Side’s "I’m Covered in Mess" gets Dead Kennedy’s spazz style punk. Justin is yelling again over stuttery guitar chords, like the Dead Milkmen at their most unmelodic, feeling creepy, breathing deep between the chords. It’s almost new wave sounding in it’s jaggedness, but opens up for a bit and then goes right back to heavy muted bursts of grime, splattering the track like a monster truck rally. Someone is yelling at you, and he’s really upset about being covered in mess. What it is exactly doesn’t matter, it’s a mess…that’s enough. "Closing Credits” is a groovy surf-country number, with a rolling snare feel and electric noodling, these guys are revealing their Cramps collection, hot rod engine sounds records and black lights. Rev up your engines…except the whole beach thing is set in the south somewhere n the middle of the desert, sort of like the beach guys.
What really won me over was the liner notes on the inside sleeve about procrastination, yard sales, family photos and a new vocabulary word: “cop-blocked” which is when cops park in weird ways and you can’t get around them. This is on swirly purple vinyl with triple bonus points for including a twin peaks trading card. (I got the David Lynch one, the best).
Get it on the Postcards site and not from the Smashing Laptops Party site.