Acid Fast are a four-piece indie punk band from Oakland, CA. The sound that they channel draws on the energetic punkishness of the early 1990s. There are hints of Magnapop, early Throwing Muses, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, and Dinosaur, Jr. all swirled together in Acid Fast. Rabid Moon, their debut release. initially came out on cassette on Stupid Bag Records, if you can imagine that! How retro...
Which is not to say that they are a retro band. I do not listen to this and feel like these are a group of people trying to imitate a style. It sounds more like Acid Fast are mining the same territory -- white suburban angst, post-punk, boredom, weed, heartbreak, beer. Mix these things together in different ratios to get all the bands mentioned.
They tear through eleven tracks in about half an hour. Short, quick songs, that's what you'll get. Let's go over them.
Deep bass rumbles, guitars tinkle, and light drumming kicks the record off in Tangle. After a minute or so, the band tears into it, chanting, screaming, pounding the hell out of their instruments... I like the vocals here, male vocalist Frank Mann chanting like Big E while female voice Hanna Conda (Brendan's Note: Ouch! The pun, it hurts!) channels Rah Rah. A nice, energetic start to the record.
Shred Forever continues along in the same vein, really. Old Ideas starts off with drummer Jaspen Tamero hitting big beats that echo while Hannah Condo chants in a way that reminds me of Linda Hopper circa the first Magnapop record. When the band tears into it, Condo's singing becomes a little more forceful, more Coathangers less Magnapop. This is a really fun tune, the band just rocking out.
Tamero's great drumming continues with a similar riff in Triangle Park, where Frank Mann croons along, singing about giving away "my last beeeEEEEr" as the drums jump around mocking the tragedy of his sobering loss. An odd but fun song, but the next track really shines. It's called New Paradigm Mind Reading Co. and does the post-rock thing of slow on the verses and fast on the chorus. On the verses Conda and Mann harmonize, but when it picks up for the chorus Mann bellows alone. It's a silly song with a great beat.
Rupert is another Conda song, again kind of Coathangers-y or like very early Throwing Muses. Breaking Down the Door of the Law starts with a crunchy guitar riff, Mann and Conda shouting, then the band comes in, guitars fuzzed out and the drums thudding. They channel Archers of Loaf pretty hard here, and it rocks!
Mann takes the lead for Descending, a mess of bellowing and fast guitars that seems like the whole thing might fall apart at any minute. It's that sort of chaos, and i bet is great to see in concert.
Tease starts with a very Archers guitar riff, then the drummer comes in and the whole thing gets bouncy. I can see pogoing like mad to this one at a live show. Conda takes the vocals, here sounding like Patty Donahue from The Waitresses: she is bored and kind of muttering the lines, which are almost lost in the guitar jangle. Speaking of which, i love the guitar line here.
War Goes On chugs along, then roars with grinding guitars as the kick drum thumps and Conda and Mann shout. Loud, angry, energetic, fun.
We wrap things up with Enough Already, which jangles like an Archers of Loaf tune, that sort of crunchy rhythm over head-bopping melodies. A great end to the record.
This is a good little EP / short LP. Whichever. This band has some talent. But, goddamnit, when are they going to come to Atlanta -- preferably to The EARL on a Saturday night... Hint hint.