Low Culture


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If you’re looking for garage punk in 2013, you can hardly do better than to explore the catalog of In the Red Records or Portland’s Dirtnap Records. The latter is responsible for releases by the Exploding Hearts, the White Wires, and Mean Jeans, and all the bands share the same heartfelt, gritty, vintage punk sound. The fact that bassist Joe Ayoub is already on Dirtnap as the active bass player for Marked Men probably helped secure them a spot on the roster, but their music actually sounds quite a lot like that of Marked Men. Averaging about two minutes a tune, Low Culture’s debut is a catchy, overdriven production that has distinct attitude. The songs are raunchy, but completely even. Everything on Screens is punchy, melody-driven, and irreverent in the same way as late-‘70s albums by the A's or the Dickies. Energy is the main focus, and singer Chris Mason has a wool-throated rasp that is filled with enough tunefulness to make songs like “Touchy Feely” and “Trying to Quit” sneakily addictive. Meanwhile, the Marked Men bassist, and the former guitarist and drummer from Total Jock, play with charmingly sloppy abandon. They showcase chunky chords and flippant drum fills, but have just enough smarts and restraint to stay out of the way of the crackling, shout-along melodies, which are consistently catchy as all hell.

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