Friday, January 18, 2013

Bad Times' "Why Are All the Kids Crying?"

Bad Times is the latest vehicle for Alex Atchley, who once scared the absolute hell out of me while performing as the one-man band Naxat. Sure, that trick's been done before, by Nathan Brown, Professional Juice, and New Fumes, to name just three, but there's an intensity that Atchley brings to everything he does that's noteworthy.

On their debut full-length, he sings 'n' strums over the roiling riddim section of Donovan Ford's bass and Ryan Schefsky's drums -- a muscular combo that goes straight for the throat and leaves plenty of blood on the floor.  Says Atchley, "Our main influences are proto/early and post-punk. We're simultaneously trying to be like the Wipers and late '70s power pop."

To these feedback-scorched ears, "Every Game Becomes A Drinking Game (When You're Around)" sounds like a pop-punk version of Led Zep circa Houses of the Holy -- something about the way the chords ring. Atchley's affectless, detached-sounding, somewhat pitch-challenged vocals make for a striking contrast with the aggressive backing.

"A Song Your Daddy Would Like" utilizes the almost-forgotten Chuck Berry chug, motivating along like a less-drunk Replacements or less-opiated Johnny Thunders until a singalong chorus seals the deal. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a sonic meltdown like the one from Pere Ubu's "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" steers the Airmobile into the ditch. "Sometimes we make that noise freakout painfully long," says Atchley, "which ends up [making the song] like 3:30." Then the song returns, with Atchley intoning the refrain, "I will wipe you off the counter / mop you off the bathroom floor / I will drive you up the driveway / I'll be gone when he opens the door."

These guys are onto something. Hey Alex -- Never sell yourself short, dig? On Bandcamp or anywhere else.


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