Shang-a-Lang (Razorcake cover #48) was like a favorite shitty-awesome tattoo: fuzzy-edged, shaky, proportions not exactly right. They were an authentic spot of DIY punk done with indelible ink and not pencil. For this, they hold a special place in my heart. They called it quits. I knew Chris and Jojo were starting another band. I needed to ease into it. The breakup was too fresh. It needed to scab over, heal. When I got the record, I didn’t listen to it immediately. The insecurity inside me wasn’t, “What if this sucks?,” it was “What if this isn’t as good?” I finally unbent a paper clip, poked the reset button in my head, and did something I hadn’t done in a long time with a record slated for review. I listened to Low Culture for three weeks and didn’t write a single word down about the record… And it’s not like I’m all “Shang-a-who?” now, but Low Culture didn’t show up to this “job interview called life” in an ill-fitting suit. They showed up in regularly washed T-shirts. Explanation: the recording is the cleanest it’s ever been with a band with Chris Mason involved in it, but it’s not a false dress-up—like a movie-ticket-taker in a bow tie—but a fuller, higher fidelity sound that provides a greater depth. Chris’s voice sounds even more exuberant, incisive, and vulnerable. The lyrics are filled with battles with depression and dislocation and they sound more… more cutting. Screens is a perfect title, too. Cultural. Societal. Personal. Televisional. All these screens. Damn, this is a fine record. Here’s to insecurities addressed, to obstacles confronted.

 –todd (Dirtnap)