So it just got freezing. Like yesterday. It was in the 50s like normal fall weather and then BOOM! 25 degree mornings right outta nowhere. And to hell with all you summer lovin’ goonie birds who are already complaining, because I’m happy. I like winter. Sure it’s cold, but cold wakes you the hell up, makes you feel alive. Think back to stupid summer, to every time you had to drag yourself down into those horrid hellholes they call subway tunnels, stand there panting and sweating, feeling all gross and stankin’, just waiting for the train to arrive because it’s going to be nice and cool in there, right? Wrong! It’s going to be crowded with a bunch of stankin’, sweatin’ goonie birds who are even more disgusting than you are because they’re fat and sweat buckets for your bullets. And now you’re hotboxin’ baby, trapped in a screeching coffin that’s probably going to stall because of sick passengers or damaged signals or whatever the hell, leaving you down there to bake, fantasizing for fresh air where there is only a relentless fog of boiling body odor. Oh but don’t worry, because as soon as you’re off you can enjoy taking in that wondrous aura of roasting trash that so charmingly lines every New York sidewalk…
Yeah, summer can suck an egg. I’m happy it’s cold, and I hope it gets colder.
The one bummer is that it means poor timing for Brooklyn stalwarts Low Fat Getting High, who just released last week what would’ve made a great summer record. And by that I mean it continually favors energy over subtlety, and I’d like to listen to it while driving a car. A convertible! A really fast, red convertible. With racing stripes! And a gun in the glove box. Wait, what’s the gun for?
What I’m getting at is that this would be a great record to shoot guns to. Especially in the summer. It’s a real summer shootout of an LP.
Anyway, let’s not beat around any proverbial bushes here: Low Fat’s self-titled full-length debut, released last week by Money Fire Records, is going to bring you back to the 90s. I’m happy to say it doesn’t distract itself too much with attempts at throwback production, but the songwriting, sound, and overall aesthetic of the record combines punk, metal, noise, and just the teeniest bit of pop in much the same way that certain unnamed forefathers did about 25 years ago. And no, I won’t use the term grunge, because nobody with any sense likes that term. It’s one of those words that was invented by idiots and opportunists to describe an artistic movement, but because its function (and mere existence) proved contrary to any central aim of art and artists, was instantly detested by the very movement it had sought to describe. And it still carries that bad reputation and smacks of artifice, so I won’t call Low Fat a grunge band, or their record a grunge record. But the fact of the matter is that before grunge was a fad, before it was a thing at all, there were some really good and really creative bands that combined all the best kinds of underground music into a new, refreshing, and unique kind of music. This record drops all pretense and reminds us of that before time, before MTV and runway retards turned grunge into a farce, before consumer culture slapped a label on, and subsequently destroyed, a style of music that by its very nature stood to resist efforts at pigeonholing.
A year or two ago I remember a small amount of buzz coming through the local channels about a resurgence of grunge right here in Brooklyn, and Low Fat was already getting poster child status as one of these bands who were (unintentionally) carrying the torch of a label that nobody asked for in the first place. Well, I’m not sure that this press-created movement ever really got anywhere, and to be honest nobody with half a brain would care whether it did or not. Because here we are, and Low Fat has only gotten more and more recognition as a great Brooklyn band without needing to be swept up in any generic revivals. Now they’ve got a great album out, and I think it’s fair to say that this is a big next step in their path to becoming a seriously important band.
The catchiest parts of the album are towards the beginning. After an instrumental opener we get right into “Start All Over Again”, which is anthemic in that self-loathing kind of way. But it’s enjoyable self-loathing! It’s that bright, early-90s kind of self loathing, not that dark, whiny mid-90s kind of self loathing. I’m certainly happy about this distinction. Next comes the correct choice for the album’s first single, “Don’t Believe You Anymore”. Catchy! You’ll remember the melody after only one listen. And I can say that for a lot of these songs, but what’s most important is that these catchy songs always still rip. They’re fast, they’re loud, there are BIG layers of guitars, there’s a healthy heap of fuzz on the bass, and the drums go SMASH SMASH SMASH! It’s great to see a band being melodic at full speed/volume, rather than feeling the bombast has to step aside to make room for melody.
The 2nd half of the album begins to depart from the pop sensibilities suggested in the earlier songs, but what I like about this is how it makes occasion for more interesting guitar work. To me, that’s the most notable aspect of this album. The guitars are big, they’re piled on top of each other in all the right ways, and, well, they just sound really good. We even get to see some wonky solo/lead work in songs like “Can’t See Anymore” and “Mint Gum”. I’ve got to give a lot of credit here not only to guitarist Michael Sincavage, but also to Money Fire cohort John Meredith, who recorded and mixed the album. It is, no doubt, a sonic success.
The album goes out on its only dour note, the subdued “The Car is Waiting”. I’m not always a big fan of ballad-y closers, but hey, it’s not my record. Anyway, maybe it’s the album saying, “Hey, summer’s over. Hope you had fun, but when you wake up tomorrow it’s gonna be 25 degrees. FARENHEIT. Deal with it.” And I’m ok with that.
Get the album here.