Disgraceland came out over a month ago. It f**king rocks. That is my review for it.
Well, ok. I will say a few more things, but sometimes I feel like when an album like Disgraceland is in front of me, it shouldn’t be overanalyzed. It should merely just be enjoyed and taken for what it is. This is an album that some pre-twenty teens made off of inspiration from other dirt-bag punk bands like Black Lips and FIDLAR. These guys don’t sound quite so dirt-bagish, but believe me, they are dirt bags. In the best way possible of course.
Despite somehow pulling in David Sitek and Chris Coady (TV On the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc.) as their production team, I don’t think they are exactly fishing to be the next great indie band. I think they are looking to be rock legends! They aren’t going for compliments on how their lyrics are more poignant than ever, or how talented of musicians they are. They are looking to garner everyone’s attention in other ways. They want to be known as the band that rocked your face off.
A year ago they were playing in basements. Now they play in bars, even though they cannot order from them. They have wildly outlandish shows that are incredibly fun and entertaining to watch/attend. They freak out and get all weird on Letterman, making asses and idles of themselves at the same time. They are aggressive, and weird, and know how to turn heads by watching generations of musicians like them that have freaked out on stage and done it before. The Who, The Doors, The Clash, The Pixies, The Strokes… dare I say it… The Orwells. Their live shows are nuts. The lead singer tries to channel some insane Jim Morrison vibe that used to be shunned, but is apparently now even encouraged on late night shows. Some people look at this and say that they have seen bands do it before back in the day, it’s old hat, blah blah blah. But how many bands do the new generation of punk-asses have to turn to see acts like this live?
Again, Disgraceland came out almost a month ago. It f**king rocks. It is nothing fancy, it is just good. It has highs and lows, but mostly highs. It gets in your face and yells at times like in “The Righteous One” and the very anthemic protest of “Who Needs You”. It even shows real glimpses of greatness in moments like in the album opener “Southern Comfort” which is one of my favorite tracks, and the mid-album “Let It Burn”. The song “Norman” is also especially interesting and original in concept. It is basically telling the tale of a horror film in song form. It is creepy, aggressive, and in your face in a confident ax-murderer kind of way, kind of like Misfits meets the Strokes. The album is loud, it is fun, and actually is more mature than they, or others, will give it credit for. I say that due to some of the politically charged lyrics and the originality in some song writing that they show.
The lows are infrequent but do exist, like when it dips into high school love affair drama with “North Ave” or when some weird Cheap Trick influence shines through like in “Bathroom Tile Blues”. It is produced well, it just isn’t written to the level of consistent talent that Sitek and Coady generally work with. Instead it is written like fickle teenagers that haven’t quite made their minds up on anything yet. Maybe that is because they are 20 years old, so sue ’em. All that to say, the tent poles of the album really shine through as great tracks, and some of my favorites of the year.
The title of the album itself, Disgraceland is a play on the original punk of rock and roll, Elvis. I think that this somewhat fitting to the personality of rock and roll that they bring to the table. This interests me more than anything else with this band/album, because someone has to carry that flame along for the new generations. It is good to not take yourself so serious in music sometimes. These guys don’t yet, which in my opinion is a good amount, especially for the type of music they play.
For my final thought, I will leave with this: There has been a lot of talk about what the “Summer Song of 2014” should be on music blogs/websites lately. I hereby declare my personal summer song to be “Who Needs You”. I don’t give a damn if it actually came out last fall, the album it was released on came out a month ago. And to anyone out there who disagrees, I have three words: WHO. NEEDS. YOU!?
Can’t Miss: “Southern Comfort”, “Dirty Sheets”, “Let It Burn”, “Who Needs You”
Can’t Hit: “Bathroom Tile Blues”, “North Ave.”