OFF!: First Four EPs: 4 x 7” EP

Mar 03, 2011

On its surface, yeah, it’d be easy as pie to write this off as some vainglorious attempt by some punkers of yore to make a quick cash-in on their former infamy and further besmirch what smidgeon of cred they had left. Making it easier still would be the fact that the label it’s on is connected to Vice Magazine, which, if my memory of it is correct, is some hipster mag that fetishizes underground culture for folks who would’ve been beaten to a pulp if they’d ever had the temerity to step into Godzillas, Cathay de Grande, or Club Fuck. The problem with handily jumping to such conclusions, though, is the music contained on the four 7” discs up for discussion, which contain sixteen tracks of straight-for-the-jugular, no-frills, no-bullshit Southern California thug-punk. Very early Black Flag and Red Cross are the too-obvious references, considering the pedigrees of those responsible, but they are nonetheless fitting, with virtually all of the tracks here evincing the same short attention span song lengths and sparse, pointed lyrics about non-conformity, various psychoses, and the generally fucked up state of the world that continues to make the early work of the aforementioned bands so goddamned relevant. More importantly, instead of being saturated in that jaded, “We were doing this shit thirty years ago, kids” arrogance so many of their (and my) peers exude, the whole package— the music, the accompanying artwork, the live performances—feels fucking real and dripping with a seeming sincerity that is often rare in this age of punk-as-career-move. Keith and the boys have something special on their hands here and it’ll be interesting to see/hear if/how they evolve over time.

 –jimmy (Vice Music)

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