ARROYO DEATHMATCH: All of Them Witches: CD

May 20, 2014

I was going to call this “anarcho-flamenco punk,” but I don’t think what Arroyo Deathmatch plays is technically flamenco. There’s a definite Spanish feel to it and there’s a lot of flute work and there are moments that made me think of The Spirit of the Beehive. But, really, this is just a standard, excruciating folk-punk record—ostensibly radical/populist/authentic, though in truth it’s contrived and ridiculous and completely at odds with what people actually listen to. You get one singer who sounds like Chuck Ragan and another who sounds like John Darnielle, basically a lumberjack and an accountant screaming at you about straight edge and voting over acoustic fast-core with prog time shifts. I groaned and rolled my eyes, even when the band did something sort of cool like make an album without the use of electricity (you wonder how they manufactured the CDs and the answer is naturally occurring forest disc-burners running on syrup and good vibes). Another bohemian punkhouse vanity project, light years away from Wallace Berman or any of the real cool outliers. 

 –Matt Werts (Self-released,