In my backwards brain I always give a bit more credibility to fan labels. There’s just something about them that emits sincerity and fun, and more often than not they’re a place to find a bunch of stuff that would normally fly under my radar. The two singles here from 86’d Records confirm my line of thinking. First on the turntable is a split from Dead Uncles and The Credentials. Both play the rough melodic punk that bands like Off With Their Heads and Banner Pilot have been chopping away at for a while now. Dead Uncles have some decent jam-action on the guitar, which sets them apart from most of the pack, hopefully they continue to develop in that direction. If they caterwauled as good as the play their instruments they’d be onto something! The Credentials side thumps and blasts and vomits up the epitome of the genre’s lyrics – “I’m so lost, I’m so alone, I’m so drunk. Pick up the phone cause I’m dying here wishing I could disappear like you did.” The song rocks, especially when they barrel to the end. This is music that one should hear, but not listen to (unless you want to get bummed out). Shaving cream companies are reporting record losses by the quarter, and this 7″ will not help their situation.
Go White Bronco supply the other single, and it couldn’t be farther away on the spectrum. “Life as a Monument” starts with soft but clear acoustic plucking, rolls into mid-tempo strumming, and then the singer slides in with a simple but earnest tune. However, it’s the subtle, even haunting backdrop (courtesy of some light french horn and echo-y “oooohs”) that draw me in. The song explodes in the middle, almost to acoustic punk levels, and then sighs back to where it started. The flip offers a shorter cut that’s just as charming, with some harmonies to boot. Nothing is new but everything sounds great. Indie punk is booming right now, and I’m cool with that, but it’s still nice once in a while to find those tiny labels and small releases that fill in the cracks with quality material.
– Mark H.