Friday, April 4, 2014
Wimps on Help Yourself Records
I remember the discovery of coming across Nodzzz's "I Don't Wanna Smoke Marijuana" single. It was so nerdy and simple, they were having fun with the track in the video hanging out in jean shorts in a kiddie pool, there was something nicely unpretentious and ridiculous about making music seem this easy. Before I got in deep with Johnny Ill or The Zoltars, Nodzzz were singing about accents, contact highs and karaoke. It was based in that Gang of Four post punk sound but with a sense of humor. Like the Whines, Real Numbers or Swimsuit, I propose adding the Wimps to that small group of bands that walk the line of simplicity while having a good time and who keep those post punk elements in the back of their minds while partying like nerds - at the wrong time.
I haven't heard this kind of fun post punk in... maybe ever. "Secret Message" is talking about the boring things through seriously bizarre minimal punk with high melodies and fun harmonies. They got the band name right out of the way, like German Measles - we admit it we're weirdos, take your best shot. Like the Besties but with a tough edge and far off jangle and tight slap drums but it's all about these vocals. Treating a secret message like a revelatory moment, they hit that Devo feeling about this odd idea, and of course you would combine a secret message and haircuts. They go back and forth with a verse and a measure of heavier and bigger sounding punk with room for them to find their pop like The Embarrassment, The Feelies, or Beat Happening and all the ways the those guys could take pop to obscure places. On "Distraction" the high electric melody is almost twee, fun and not taking itself seriously until the chorus goes into a punk place building into drums which are perfectly not huge, everything is flattened out and the guy / girl back and forth is singing 'do do do do do' for a good portion of the song with no vocal effects whatsoever. Free but rehearsed without a misstep. All these changes are dizzying but they can still find the arrangement. Girl vocals on this one yelling against a guy over in the corner adding his two cents and landing in the chorus "Need a distraction / Need a distraction". As rigid as it sounds, a frantic modern sentiment, your ADD kicks in and this being on a single is perfect. So far a perfect EP. Brief and icy with catchy choruses.
Is this the same band on B-Side's "Dog Pills"? Feels looser except for the fun fun and crazy the chorus title of the track cuts right into the verse. Such a weird nervousness in the repetition and yelling about dogs pills, adderall and weed, but not in a laid back way, these guys are paranoid and after a a robotic jumpy back and forth. "Party at the Wrong Time" is the best sentiment like Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time" but different. It's what made me pick this out of the pile, that cover and this idea, that hot dog doesn't know any better. This is getting away from the robotic sound of Pylon and Nodzz fun party high rock and gets into a hardcore back and forth. Clearly out of tune chords during this chorus that could have ended up in old Unwound tablature. Stretch those fingers, contort hands in dangerous shapes to get those chords no one else can.
Great fluorescent green yellow clear vinyl and that hot dog on a skateboard computer sketch made me think of fuzzy distortion and a Wavves disregard for rock songwriting and pretty much everything but they proved me wrong. See, the hot dog now is kind of an amazing story of triumph, he's managed to balance on there and ride the damn thing but it's hurting his eyes so he found some tiny sunglasses. Wow man. I was the first of my friends to follow the Wimps. Get it from Help Yourself.