Bandcamp Picks for the week of 10/8/20, featuring Toner and Pottery!
Toner – SILK ROAD
Genre: Lofi Punk
Favorite Tracks: “Heaven’s Blade,” “Cherry Plaza,” “Heavy Glow”
While the highs of the early aughts surf punk boom may have come and gone, the Vans and torn-pocket-Dickies sentiment it left behind never fails to remain fun in its crust punk grime. In just four years, the Bay Area quartet Toner have managed to cement themselves as the underground’s favorite band to listen to while hooking a key-adorned carabiner into the belt loop of a pair of chinos. Following the chunky, beachy post-punk of 2017’s compilation COLLECTION, SILK ROAD offers listeners 20 minutes of fun that is as easy to bop to as it is provocative. With its searing feedback and mid-tempo rock groove, “Heaven’s Blade” is an energetic slice of FIDLAR-y beer rock that makes me yearn for the sweaty house shows of my youth. Later on in the tracklisting, “Cherry Plaza” presents listeners with Toner’s shoegaziest cut to date. While the intelligible and gripping production suits the songwriting well, had it been recorded with a USB mic, it could easily evoke the masterfully blown-out ripping of Philly legends Blue Smiley (RIP). While Toner may not be perfect, the imperfections add to their character. The best punk music doesn’t come out of music conservatories, it comes out of DIY venues and dive bar-driven scenes. Where Nuvolascura gave us an epic taste of the West Coast’s most visceral underground tendencies earlier this year on their record AS WE SUFFER FROM MEMORY AND IMAGINATION, Toner presents us with the flip side of the same coin. Where the East Coast’s rock and roll underground thrives on the legacies of Fugazi and Bad Brains, the wild west manages to thrash around while still evoking the warm nostalgia of a jukebox in a mom-and-pop diner. From the suburban opening jaunt of “‘95 Slow” to the shuffling jamming of closer “Heavy Glow,” SILK ROAD is a sunny slice of denim jacket rock music that makes me yearn for the most peacefully benign college moments of wandering sweltering SoCal suburbia. It’s available to check out on Bandcamp. [Ted Davis]
Pottery – WELCOME TO BOBBY’S MOTEL
Genre: Garage Rock, Art Punk
Favorite Tracks: “Bobby’s Forecast,” “Texas Drummers Pt I & II,” “NY Inn”
Bobby’s Motel is, truthfully, not somewhere I think I want to go. My mind jumps to a dizzying, grimy overnight stay at an undisclosed off-the-beaten-path interstate exit deep in the heart of the South, or the hot, sweaty makeshift after hours party down the street from the dive because closing time has come and gone. The liner notes for Pottery’s WELCOME TO BOBBY’S MOTEL plead the case that “You go to Bobby’s Motel to feel, to escape, to remember, to distract. You go for the late nights and early mornings, good times and the bad,” and I have to cede that nothing mentioned above is entirely mutually exclusive, and that some of the wildest nights of my life were late nights in surreal locations with people you’d never like to see in the sober light of day. Those nights would’ve been made all the more insane if a song like “Texas Drums Pt. I & II” popped on the stereo, and WELCOME TO BOBBY’S MOTEL is the most defined and defiant debut album of the year because it’s this brash mix of muddied funk and groovy post-punk, often times sweating out the art punk, new wave bend of acts like Devo, X, or the Talking Heads with arid, desert heat. Pottery’s rhythm section is the true party at the motel, an unhinged, frantic, explosive combination of drumming and percussion that drops wry cowbell blows and unstoppable disco grooves with reckless abandon and unstoppable force.
If you spend any amount of time with WELCOME TO BOBBY’S MOTEL, you’ll be dared to compare Pottery to Parquet Courts, and certainly LIGHT UP GOLD is similarly brash and self-confident. But even if that band found ways to nail sweaty, filthy punk and funk music, they were never as unrelenting. Throw on “NY Inn” or “Down In The Dumps” and you’ll feel exhausted when they end—this is an all-nighter, you’re in this one for the long haul. Listening to WELCOME TO BOBBY’S MOTEL I can taste the now-warm PBR and 14th cigarette of the night, and fuck it, those were the most fun nights of my life. At a certain point you give in to that energy and just embrace how odd and perhaps uncomfortable the entire experience is. Welcome to WELCOME TO BOBBY’S MOTEL. You can check in at Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]