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Dirty Fences reveal pyramid scheme on recent singles

There are bands out there that are willing to form a human pyramid for the sake of their art and others that aren’t. For one example of the former take Radiohead for instance—no human pyramids happening there there. And they’ve even got a song called “Pyramid Song” but even with the help of Weird Al and Adele they couldn’t make it happen or couldn’t produce photographic evidence of it anyway.

Dirty Fences are clearly a band who are staunchly pro pyramid and they’ve got the esprit de corp and the overall musical moxie to pull it off convincingly too, with a sound falling in the Venn Diagram sweet spot between Bay City Rollers, Misfits, and Motörhead with some junk-shop glam a la Sweet and Slade thrown into the mix as well to sweeten the pot.

The band’s latest singles is called “Pony On” and it’s a power-popping toe tapper that could easily be a long forgotten ‘90s sitcom theme song and also you could do the pony to it pretty easily if you can do the pony. Plus it’s got a catchy b-side about a “Heartache Parade” where “high is fine and I can’t complain.lhAnd then there’s the single they put out earlier this year where both sides (“Pepper Ann / “One In Ten”) lean into the Misfits side of things, while their late 2020 single “Garbage Man”/“Sometimes Sunshine” is even more on the punkier side of things but still super melodic and if you need more musical examples they also put out a retrospective comp recently called Hand Pickled Melodies. Seriously these guys could be full time jingle writers if they didn’t already have too much integrity to go in such a crassly commercial direction.

But if you’re one of these people who subscribes to the theory that bands are best judged by how well they can pull off a Public Access TV live gig then check out the video above to make a fully informed verdict. (Jason Lee)

Bad Static bruise you like a "Peach" on debut single

The small fuzzy fruit known to English-speakers as a peach, with its sweet rainbow-hued juicy flesh and its alarmingly large seeds, has an interesting history when it comes to its use as a symbol in literature and elsewhere. For J. Alfred Prufrock, the question of whether to eat a peach leads to an existential crisis in one the most famous poems ever written. In Chinese mythology, peaches are the literal “fruit of the gods” bestowing longevity to immortals thanks to their mystical virtue. And on Instagram, peach emojis are a concise way of saying to someone that they have a nice ass.

But enough about the teaches of peaches. We’re here to discuss Bad Static’s debut single, simply called “Peach.” In this song, Bad Static tap into the oft-implied association of the peach with both femininity and vulnerability, which are not associated but are often assumed to be. But rest assured you won't make that mistake here because Bad Static is clearly anything but vulnerable.

The cover image of “Peach” depicts a peach (no surprise there) that appears to be bleeding. with a large bloodied butcher knife directly behind it sitting in a pool of blood. And while PJ Harvey once described being “Happy and Bleeding” it seems like here any potential happiness is being impeded by some dude (assumed) who’s looking for a “kitten” and a “baby doll” to whom Bad Static reply: “Don’t fuck with me / I’ll bruise you like a peach.”


This is a compelling turnabout from traditional peach imagery where it’s usually the woman identified as the vulnerable “peach” and even in PJ Harvey’s “Happy and Bleeding” there a few lines describing how “the fruit was bruised / dropped off and blue / out of season / happy I’m bleeding long overdue.” And while we’re probably talking about two different forms of bleeding here, it’s still notable how Bad Static turn the tables on their attempted oppressors (and on the standard symbology) where they are the ones “waiting to attack / scratching down your back.”

On the musical side of things, Bad Static create a peachy compliment to their message with a musical vibe that's basically like Pleasure Seekers meets X-Ray Spex (the vocals are especially Poly Styrene-ish) with a dash of Runaways for good measure that builds to a climactic sonic vortex over a chant of “thrill me, kill me / on your knees please. And they do it all in a tidy two minutes and five seconds, and truly nothing says punk rawk more than a two minute long song about fruit and blood and "don't fuck with me" and empowerment. (Jason Lee)

photo credit: Max D'Amico


The four members of Bad Static were kind enough to answer a few inane questions cooked up in the middle of the night when The Deli was admittedly maybe possibly a bit inebriated and here’s a selection of their responses to said questions:

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli: What rock academy did you guys attend to learn how to rock so hard?

Kelsie Williams (bassist and singer): "The rock academy of your mom ( insert theme )”
Its My Rock and Im Ready to Roll Academy
The Anxious, Depressed and Overdressed Academy for the Elite Rockers of Rollers

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli: The song “Peach” ends with a refrain of “thrill me kill me / on your knees please.” By this we assume you mean to say that the addressee is the “bee’s knees” in so many words. Who do you consider to be the bee’s knees for yourself personally whether it’s a personal hero, or an admired musician, or whatever?

Nicol Maciejewska (singer and guitarist): That section of the song is about cheap thrills and asserting your dominance on those that try to dominate women.

I really like Patti Smith! She’s and great writer and musician. I inspire to do something along those lines. I also really like Kathleen Hanna and how she was one of the pioneers of the riot grrrl movement by creating her zine Bikini Kill and then later starting a kick ass band under that name.

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli:  What’s your favorite method for bruising oppressors (or just plain jerks) either physically or mentally or both?

Ryan Kevett (lead guitarist): Favorite method for bruising oppressors is nihilistic flatulence

Very intelligent question posed by The Deli:  When your VH-1 “Behind the Music” episode premieres in 20 years or so from now, what will be the worst story that a roadie or other associate can tell on you?

Demetrio Abikkaram-Ricardo (drummer):  [REDACTED]

Nation of Language speak in tongues on new single

On their debut single released in 2016, Nation of Language asked “What Does the Normal Man Feel?” and it’s a question that's become all the more relevant in the five years since, given, you know, the five years since--five years which has made our brains hurt a lot. But “normal” itself doesn’t feel so desirable anymore anyways (if it ever did) and N.O.L. already understood this when they distanced themselves from normal man feelings (“free from it...can not find it in myself”) backing up this sentiment with a neo-Devo meets Human League meets Howard Jones sound, a sound harking back to men (and women) who didn’t exactly scream normalcy either back in the day despite penning many hits between them. 

In the interim Nation of Language put out a bunch of singles and one full length called Introduction, Presence, exploring a range of musical tributaries without deviating too far from their core sound. For instance, just listen to the band's stark coldwave cover of “Gouge Away” which evokes the Pixies’ extreme dynamics but in a whole different fashion.

On their most recent single, N.O.L. acknowledge how we’ve crossed “Across That Fine Line”  (see the video up top) and go full-on Motorik throb a la Krautrock/Kraftwerk which fits perfect with the notion of being in transit/transition from one state-of-being to another whether literally or figuratively or due to falling in L-U-V or whatever. And they manage to work in an anthemic chorus which is not really native to Krautrock so it makes for a cool push/pull dynamic which even comes across in the song’s opening lines, alternately comforting and disconcerting:

“Reach out, call my name
Whenever you want
Faced with the final convulsions
Contorting my tongue”


It’ll be interesting to hear what other new accents and dialects Nation of Language work into the mix on their next full-length, A Way Forward, scheduled for towards the end of this year, no doubt to be made available at your local record and tape outlet. (Jason Lee)

UV-TV bring sunshine and static on new album

UV-TV's Always Something opens with “Overcast Forever” which itself opens with two intertwined chiming guitars played in exuberantly Johnny Marr-ish fashion but with a jangly jagged dissonance between them and a quick single-note bass suspension adding more tension right before bassist-guitarist-vocalist Rose Vastola recalls calling up an unidentified “you” on a sunny day and being confronted with shadows and darkness as a result. This unnamed someone “went away so long ago” but maintains a presence that still lingers apparently which may account for the song’s title with its lingering stormcloud that never breaks but never passes over either leading to a state of perpetual grey skies or at least that's my purely speculative reading.

What isn’t speculative is UV-TV’s mastery of taking hints of darkness and discord (with lyrical themes ranging from "the art of doing nothing" to "the inevitability of inconvenience and false hopes") and enveloping them in a sweet candy coating much like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup but made with bittersweet chocolate and extra crunchy JIF peanut butter straight from Iggy Pop’s personal stash (watch out for shards of glass) but with music that’s less Stooges-like and more along the lines The Muffs meets My Bloody Valentine in a dark alley and gets jumped by Joy Formidable—nervy guitar-based pop-rock balancing big pop hooks and big bright production with a simmering post-punk tension propelling the whole thing forward.

It’s a musical blueprint that never really goes out of style especially when it's done well and UV-TV ups the ante by adding dashes of dreampop and shoegaze and modern indie vibes. Like on “Distant Lullaby” which opens with Ian Bernacett’s guitar pedals set to stun with a two-chord swirl of cacophony but ultimately culminating in a stupidly catchy ba-ba-ba-bum-ba-ba-bum-ba-ba-bum singalong refrain which is like going from Sonic Youth to a Saturday Morning Cartoon theme song in one fell swoop, and I didn’t even mention the cowbell heard faintly in the song's bridge as if the band were just daring you to quote that one over-quoted Christopher Walken line.

Or like on “Plume” which starts off with a stark “Be My Baby” beat—or a Jesus and Mary Chain “Just Like Honey” beat if you prefer—like a plume of smoke rising off in the distance, before locking in with bass and strummed guitar and gradually building over several minutes to a swirling wall-of-sound miasma complete with machine gun snare drum fills by Ian Rose (who borrows a name from both his bandmates) before cresting and briefly resorting to its stripped down rhythmic pulse. The ending of “Plume” then leads right into the title track which could just about be mistaken for a Brian Jonestown Massacre number at first what with the tremolo guitar and groovy maraca and driving motorik pulse. But hey I don’t wanna give it all away so just go listen to the nine songs on Always Something if so inclined and savor all the flavors on your own. (Jason Lee)

Mannequin Pussy seek perfection on new Perfect EP

Much like Jamie Lee Curtis ‘s fitness instructor and John Travolta’s investigative journalist in the movie Perfect from 1985, pm the EP recently released by Mannequin Pussy also called Perfect (Epitaph Records) the Philly-based band likewise walk a fine line between outrageous provocation and romantic distress and Lycra-sheathed sensuality and moral confrontation and it'll likely hit you just as hard as Ms. Curtis's pelvic thrust routine hits in the movie whatever your thoughts on Travolta’s form-fitting shorts and his overall spotty ‘80s filmography (excepting Blow Out, the Philadelphia-set Brian De Palma classic) culminating with those talking baby movies and don’t even get me started on Battlefield Earth because that's its own ball of wax.

Fortunately, in stark contrast to the big-budget bloat of Mr. Travolta’s L. Ron Hubbard Scientology-flogging space-opera dud, Mannequin Pussy’s Perfect is a far tighter affair. Which is also great news for anyone too lazy to digest their three existing full-length records since the EP successfully distills their most outstanding qualities down to an economical 13 minutes (almost 14 minutes!) with a running order that follows the age old pentatartite structure of extended play records:

Track 1) Melodic power-pop/alt-rock banger alternating between lighter waving and head banging parts; track 2) ferocious punk rock rave-up with verbal dressing down of the enables of oppressive social forces; track 3) melodic power-pop/alt-rock banger alternating between lighter waving and head banging parts; track 4) ferocious punk rock rave-up with verbal dressing down of the enablers of oppressive social forces; and track 5) the unexpectedly wistful, ethereal ballad closing number expressing undying devotion so believably and sweetly that even Karen O may be a little jealous

To give one example of impactful brevity you can check out the title track above where the band maintain a face-melting musical escape velocity for a full two minutes as do the Real Punk Rock Housewives of Philadelphia who star in the accompanying music video. Brevity doesn't equal boredom obviously.

And speaking of which if your band is called Mannequin Pussy you better not be boring or ever lose your sense of humor or provocation and the band hasn’t done any of these things by a long shot. It's just that they've taken the prude-provoking attitude of early songs like "Clit Eastwood" and "Pissdrinker" and "Meat Slave 2" and filtered it through a hard won sense of maturity and cumulative life experience so that that now a line like “spit on my tits / tell me I’m perfect” registers with a newfound impact placed in the larger context of the insecurity and masochism encouraged by societal beauty standards and social media and high school class reunions. (Jason Lee)


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