Back in February we announced Potential Maximizer, the new album from ferocious LA art-punks Hit Bargain, with the release of its lead single “Capitulate.” Today the whole album — the follow-up to 2016’s self-titled EP — has arrived online a few days of its official release date.
Although the group contains current and former members of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Cold Beat, These Are Powers, North Highlands, and Beach Fossils, their music is far more aggressive than those acts. Hit Bargain’s impassioned topical fury veers closer to a noiser, brass-free Downtown Boys. That said, mistaking vocalist Nora Singh for a Spanish speaker á la Downtown Boys’ Victoria Ruiz would be just the sort of faux pas that informs the album, as Singh explained in a press release:
I reconnected with someone I knew when I lived in New York and then had to go dig him out of Ohio. We didn’t intend to make an LA or California inspired album, though there is inspiration to be found here, but at the same time Ohio was informative. It’s the rust belt, and like a lot of American cities the main industry has bottomed out or doesn’t exist. The economy is reeling from that. Jobs are being shipped overseas and it’s a red state. Our neighbours had a Trump sign on their lawn and people would try to speak Spanish to me.
In light of that sentiment, as an Ohio resident, I have to believe “Hell Is Real” — a song about “the ennui of late stage Capitalism” — is also inspired by a billboard along I-71 headed south from Columbus toward Cincinnati. That one rules, as does the rest of Potential Maximizer, which Hit Bargain recorded back in LA when Singh was six months pregnant. Stream the whole thing below.
Potential Maximizer is out 5/11 via Buzz Records. Pre-order it here.