The Traps

Boom Pow Awesome Wow

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For every band with a record in the shops, a tour routed, a team of managers, and a few different available T-shirt designs, there are at least another ten loosely assembled bands in various garages and attics making an unholy racket for almost zero audience. One such band was Providence, Rhode Island's the Traps. Existing for only a short window of time around 2003-2004, this trio blasted out dual guitars, caveman drumming, and demonic lead vocals, playing a few shows and recording a six-song CD-R on the most rudimentary cassette recorder before dissolving into nonexistence without much fanfare. Ten years after his then-active band the Coachwhips played with the Traps, Thee Oh Sees leader John Dwyer contacted the former bandmembers about releasing Boom Pow Awesome Wow, a ten-song compilation of most known available recordings of their beyond obscure trash rock majesty. While there are lo-fi garage rock bands by the score, the Traps take things to terrifying new levels of audio primitivism with what sounds like vaguely stereo-panned live recordings of their unrelentingly manic trash rock sludge. While certain songs stand out -- the spirited title track, the bluesy slide guitar of "Missed the Mark," the midtempo caustic punk of "Beer Pinata" -- the album is more about an overarching vibe than it is individual tracks. Barely discernible vocals don't help the tunes make any more sense on their own, but it's really of little concern. The Traps get into the same lunkheaded feral genius of the Stooges, the psychosexual deviance of the Gun Club, Pussy Galore, or early Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and the drunken teeter between oblivion and brilliance that bands like Thee Oh Sees, Mark Sultan, and King Khan would go on to perfect. Insanely abrasive, sloppy to the point of barely being in tune at points, and never, ever intended to be heard outside of certain small circles, Boom Pow Awesome Wow embodies everything amazing about the tens of thousands of rock & roll bands playing to no one at any given moment, having the time of their lives.

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