You guys know the Hold Steady song “Stay Positive”? I love that song so much, and there’s this one verse that always gets me so fired up. It goes like this:
Most kids give me credit for being down with it
When it was back in the day, back when things were way different
When the Youth Of Today and early 7 Seconds
Taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons
I grew up with those old-school hardcore bands, too, so I know exactly where Craig Finn is coming from there. Thing is, the Hold Steady don’t really sound like Youth Of Today or 7 Seconds. That’s not a problem: The Hold Steady are perfect just the way they are. That said, I’ve always kinda wondered what that band might sound like if they drew from the Youth Crew stuff as much as they did Springsteen and Westerberg. How sick would that be?
It goes without saying that the upcoming Drug Church album, Cheer, doesn’t provide a direct answer to my question, but it sure sounds a whole lot like the thing I’d been imagining. And you know what? It fucking RULES.
Now that’s a pretty reductive take on my part. I dunno if Drug Church draw from any of those influences, and even if they do, they don’t stop there. Cheer reminds me of the Pixies and Weezer and Jawbreaker and lotsa other all-time-great quiet-loud-quiet-LOUD guitar bands. It’s just raw, incendiary, kickass, super-catchy music, and it doesn’t need to hit any particular reference points to win me over. I would have loved this if I’d heard it “back in the day, back when things were way different,” and I love it today. I love it! I only mention the Hold Steady because Drug Church vocalist Patrick Kindlon (also of Self Defense Family) resembles Finn in both his vocal attack and his lyrical acumen, and Kindlon’s band plays Hold Steady-sized riffs with Youth Crew-ish velocity and force. You can ignore these comparisons, of course, and I hope you do. But if they encourage you to listen to the music, then they’ve done their job.
Drug Church just dropped Cheer lead single “Avoidarama,” which is a great place to start. The song is just rolling like a goddamn Sherman tank when it gets to the singalong vocals on the bridge (right around the 2:20 mark), which lifts the whole thing to another plane. It is unbelievably killer. Below that, I’m gonna embed Cheer advance track “Weed Pin,” which might be the single best song amid a pretty flawless group of ‘em. “Weed Pin” is a few months old, but I missed it when it first dropped. You shouldn’t make the same mistake. Incidentally, “Weed Pin” features what are (so far) my favorite of all Kindlon’s many great lines. They go like this:
At $12.50 an hour?
I should’ve started a chemical fire!
I SHOULDA BURNED THIS FUCKIN’ PLACE TO THE GROUND!
I guess that’s maybe more Mclusky than the Hold Steady, but those bands have written some of the best lyrics of my lifetime, so coming from me, that’s high praise. Drug Church deserve even more. Check it.
Cheer is out 11/02 on Pure Noise. Pre-order it here.