STIRLING SAYS: Balboa: LP

Love it. We need a name for this wave of punk that borrows from early alt-rock. I’m going with Alterna-Punk, y’all with me? Stirling Says are a Bay Area power trio with the songwriting chops of late ‘80s/early ‘90s indie bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement, but they play with an intensity that makes it sound like catchy, quirky California punk. The melodies have an underlying melancholy that makes them all the sweeter, like bruises on a plum. There’s a prog-nerd element in some of the noodlier leads and lyrics like, “I’ll do everything I can to make the fire flow from my hands,” but it doesn’t cut into the fun. Nice recording, too—bombastic low end, and enough grit to make the psychedelic guitar freakouts blast off. I’d suggest copping wax and putting “A to D” on a mix in-between “Freak Scene” and anything off that new Underground Railroad To Candyland LP, but if you’re on the fence, go to their Bandcamp page and download it for free. Either way, give this a listen.

 –CT Terry (Adagio 830)