RED VS. BLACK: Excuse to Exist: Cassette

This tape starts out with some bass heavy, art punk that’s kind of noodly and mathy, yet, really muddy sounding too, as if it was recorded through a blown-out speaker. When the vocals come in, they’re equally as distorted and far beneath the pop-popping of the drums. On first listen to the opening track, you think you’re just hearing another shitty demo, but by the time you get a few seconds into the weird noise/sound collage, you realize you’re getting into something way more intentional and calculated, a sort of garagey, jazz punk. I have the feeling the song “Caught Fleas,” in which, the singer laments, “I don’t know where I caught fleas but I can feel them biting me” is just about that. You know, literal. Um, yeah, I think so, but the fact that I questioned it shows the band’s almost autistic intelligence, which doesn’t take itself seriously and is a lot of fun to listen to. The first side of the tape fades out with more collage and some soundbites about abortion clinics mixed with eighties sax samples. It flips over into the next side and a drum machine starts, then a bass sample and a short, bursting voice advises, “What you gonna do, you’re gonna try a little fascism, what you’re gonna do is smoke a little hash-ism.” Well, there ya go. That would be a perfect way to wrap up this review if I didn’t feel the need to mention the killer song, “Cops Don’t Have P.M.A” a lyrical posi-punk/cop hatin’ song combination with the lyrics “they’re not really your friends / they all got blood on their hands” and with a sneaky positive self-reliance message mixed in there for the punks. This is a gem. Its originality is rare in the internet age, when frustrated punks are just a google away from the isolation that makes for good rock’n’roll. Recommended for fans of God Is My Co-Pilot and self-effacing fans of The Fall.

 –Craven (Mouthbomb)