Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Artist Spotlight: Wire

Music is an artform, but only some songs really sound like art.

Listening through the discography of Wire feels like traversing the halls of a vast and ever-changing art museum.

Wire’s musical identity has always been fluid, unrestricted by genre and unburdened by convention.

Photo by Intricate Explorer on Unsplash

Though perhaps stylistically inconsistent, the works of Wire maintain tactile continuity.

Every song feels like a lungful of cool coastal air, idyllic and rustic and contemplative. A collection of experimental brushstrokes.

As October approaches, the works of Wire capture the dual melancholy-yearning invoked by the transition from summer into fall.

“Pink Flag”

Largely considered to be a landmark album, Wire debuted with the release of “Pink Flag” in 1977.

A collection of 21 songs with an overall runtime of just under 36 minutes, “Pink Flag” presents a marked deconstruction of the punk genre.

Cover for “Pink Flag” by Wire

Though most of the tracks on the album are short, with some falling under 30 seconds, the album passes by at a remarkably slow pace.

It’s clear that Wire was methodical in their composition of the album, only remaining with each track for as long as absolutely necessary.

The resulting album presents something adjacently punk — punk stripped of its blaring paint — cultivated at a distance.

Post-punk before post-punk had really begun.

The album’s cover, I think, most adequately represents the album’s sound: minimalist, uncomplicated and sunbleached.

Recommended Tracks: “Three Girl Rhumba,” “Fragile,” “1 2 X U”

“Chairs Missing”

Wire’s second album, released 1978, marked the band’s progression further into experimentalism.

While “Pink Flag” presented punk at a distance, “Chairs Missing” moved even farther away.

Cover for “Chairs Missing” by Wire

The album’s tracks are deeply atmospheric and contemplative.

While traces of punk influence persist in the realms of distortion, vocal styles and lilt, there’s a noticable presence of synths throughout.

When I hear the words “art punk,” the sounds of this album come to mind.

Recommended Tracks: “Another the Letter,” “Marooned,” “Sand in My Joints”


Wire’s third album, released 1979, was another step in the band’s progression of style.

Building upon the atmosphere of “Chairs Missing,” “154” demonstrates a slower, more exacting musical process.

The album’s opening track, “I Should Have Known Better,” is almost unrecognizable as Wire.

Cover for “154” by Wire

With cold, clean vocals buffered by a smooth guitar-synth combo, the track has an almost gothic slant.

This effect continues throughout the album, with use of electronic beats coloring a pneumatic atmosphere.

“154” represents Wire’s penchant for transformation — or rather, metamorphosis — as the deconstruction witnessed in “Pink Flag” culminates in the birth of a distinct genre.

Recommended Tracks: “I Should Have Known Better,” “Single K.O.,” “Once is Enough”

Final Thoughts

Wire’s experimentation with music didn’t end with “154.”

In 2020, the band released “10:20,” their 18th studio album.

Though Wire never reached the mainstream acclaim of other groups, their influence is uncontested.

Many groups that proved more commercially successful than Wire, such as Sonic Youth, Minutemen, My Bloody Valentine and Big Black, cite Wire’s influence in their own work.

As frontman Colin Newman said in a Rolling Stones interview, Wire is “… the most famous band you’ve never heard of.”

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: Rezurex

Rezurex is one of the most influential psychobilly bands to rise out of Los Angeles, with their 2005 debut landing them a partnership with the “Home of Horrorpunk.”

Formed in Southern California in 2001, Rezurex describes themselves as “…equal parts ’50s rockabilly, punk rock and Catholic mysticism.”

Today, Rezurex works hard to keep psychobilly alive, producing new music, participating in live performances and collaborating with other bands within the scene.


Rezurex self-released their first EP, “Beyond the Grave“, in 2005.

The following year, they re-released “Beyond the Grave” as an LP under the FiendForce Records label.

FiendForce Records, the self-proclaimed “Home of Horrorpunk,” worked with numerous bands within the genre, such as The Crimson Ghosts, Bloodsucking Zombies From Outer Space and Stellar Corpses.

Photo by Thiago Barletta

Moving forward with FiendForce, Rezurex released their 2008 album “Psycho Radio.”

The album, remastered in 2013 with Live Dead Records, produced some of the band’s most popular songs, such as “Walk On the Edge” and “Dead World.

Following the band’s 2008 release, they released the mini-album “Fiesta De Los Diablos” under Eastern Storm in collaboration with the band Hi-Hopes.

Rezurex continued to release music, with their most recent album, “Skeletons,” coming out in 2020 with Cleopatra Records.

The band’s most recent release, “Yakety Yak,” came out in March of 2023. The single is a vibrant collaboration between Rezurex, The Brains and The Coasters.

Bat Music for Bat People

A compelling aspect of the psychobilly community is its strong culture of collaboration.

Bat! is a “masked supergroup” featuring members from Rezurex, Nekromantix, The Brains and Stellar Corpses.

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

Formed in 2019, Bat! is, at its core, a group of passionate musicians making music and having a good time.

With campy noir aesthetics and dramatic lyricism, the group’s debut album, “Bat Music for Bat People,” translates into a type of musical theatre.

Final Thoughts

I found Rezurex while putting together a psychobilly set for my radio show, and I can definitely say that they’re a band I will continue listening to.

Perusing their discography illustrates a progression of style, with their newest tracks demonstrating a distinct sound that blends classic rockabilly, romantic rock and Latin American rhythms.

For individuals interested in psychobilly and looking for a band that marches ahead with energy reminiscent of The Cramps frontman Lux Interior, Rezurex is an excellent listening candidate.


  • “Dia De Los Muertos”
  • “Mi Calavera de Amor”
  • “Sacred Heart”
  • “Psycho Radio”
Band/Artist Profile

Itchy Kitty: Cats in Spotlight

So, Itchy Kitty, a wonderfully perverse band name, clawed its way into my ears through chance a few years ago when I watched Built to Spill’s performance at Cat’s Cradle way, way back in 2022. I wrote a little about their performance and who some of the members were in this article, but I haven’t stopped listening to their music. 

Their harsh sounds and self described “bubblegum p***” genre labels got me addicted to their music and kept me returning for more and more of their sounds (quote from The Spokesman-Review). Itchy Kitty has four releases within their seven-ish year existence as a band and focuses their sound within the punk genre by using shrill, explosive vocals, cranked-up guitar and heart-thumpin’ drum beats. 

Who’s this Band?

The members of Itchy Kitty are made up of Ami Elston (guitar, bass, vocals), Naomi Eisenbrey (bass, vocals), Michael (Sug) Tschirgi (drums, percussion), and their guitarist known as Catman. They are currently signed with CORPORAT Records and they’re based out of Spokane, Washington.

Itchy Kitty, as previously mentioned, has four releases out-n’-about, three of which are found on Spotify and all can be found on their Bandcamp. Their releases (in order of earliest to latest release) are “Careless Whisker” from 2016, “Mr. Universe” from 2018, “Under the Covers” from 2020, and “Feargasm” also from 2020.

Album and Sounds

“Feargasm” (EP)

A few the most memorable tracks from this EP are “Fish Money” and “Sexy Requiem” These two tracks differ almost violently, as one is a classic sounding punk track with a strange subject matter (fish money), and the other is an eight minute track with calm, wispy vocals and ethereal sounds. 

“Under the Covers” (EP)

This EP focuses on covers from four different bands. My two favorites are “Sonic Reducer” and the “Psycho Killer” cover. I was lucky enough to see the “Psycho Killer” cover live at the Built to Spill show I mentioned earlier, and Eisenberry’s method of signing this track led to her convulsing on the stage floor in a horrific manner. Itchy Kitty pulls new electric emotions from both these tracks, which I found added to my appreciation of the original sounds. 

“Mr. Universe” (LP)

In this LP I found “Size Queen”, “Bore” and “Walk Towards Work”  to be exhilarating additions to their discography and band’s sound. “Size Queen” focuses on a feminine perspective of body shaming particular parts of a male body with good humor and thrash-y sounds, while “Bore” opens up the album with scratchy vocals and throwing insults towards the boring folks that infest various parts of life. 

“Careless Whisker” (LP)

And in Itchy Kitty’s first LP (that’s available on streaming services), the top couple of tracks I’ve fallen in love with are “Tomcat Society”, “Year of the Slut” and “NoMe”. “Year of the Slut” stands out the most to me on this album. It feels like the backbone of what Itchy Kitty wants to sound like. The lyrics are comedic and crass, while the music exudes an air of wonderful ‘moshability’

Itchy Kitty’s main drawback for me is that they don’t have more content out yet. This band is quite young and I cannot wait to see what they continue to do. On their Instagram page they’ve been pretty active with tours and concerts, so hopefully once they settle down for a few months they’ll be back in the studio recording some new “bubblegum p***”.

Band/Artist Profile New Album Review

Album Review: “Unreal Unearth” by Hozier

Album cover art for Hozier's album, "Unreal Unearth". Image is of Hozier's toothy smile, chewing on a daisy while the rest of the face is buried under dirt.

Andrew Hozier-Byrne, better known as Hozier, first captivated the world in 2013 with the international success of his debut track, “Take Me to Church” – a powerful, mid-tempo soul song that addresses difficult socio-political realities of the time.

Since then, the Irish native has achieved musical acclaim with a slew of inter-genre chart-topping hits in rock, blues, folk, pop and dance.

With the release of a third album, “Unreal Unearth”, Hozier caps a decade of stellar lyricism and expert musicianship with a deeply introspective love letter to the humanity of humanity where he seamlessly shape-shifts between familiar genres and dives into a distinctly new soundscape: soft and ethereal.

Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Artist Spotlight: Omerta

I didn’t even know Omerta existed until December of last year when I and two other WKNC DJs took the drive to Greensboro to see Loathe at Hangar 1819.

Though they weren’t headliners, their captivating stage presence and savage energy riveted me. Following the show, I immediately went home and listened to their entire discography.

Five times over.

America’s Most-Hated Boy Band

Based in Houston, Texas, Omerta fuses 90s metalcore with vaporwave and cybergrind whatever those words mean to create a uniquely hardcore sound.

Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh on Unsplash

With a website still under construction and an enigmatic style reminiscent of 2010s tumblr-era “girlcore” aesthetic, Omerta is an up-and-coming brand bringing an air of innovation to the scene.


Released as the band’s debut album in 2020, Hyperviolence is vicious and vile in all of the best ways.

With a runtime of just under twenty minutes, the album passes by in a feverish haze.

The album’s multiplicity of styles serves as a testament to the band’s experimental nature. Each song has a distinct sound and draws from a combination of stylistic methods.

The album’s opening track, “Payback,” has a trap metal slant while the final track, “Hyperviolence,” leans towards a metalcore style.

“Garbage,” the 4th track on the album, has clear contemporary emo influences.

This blending of styles makes each track particularly engaging.

Every time I listen, I notice something new.


Omerta’s most recent single, “Antiamorous,” is a testament to the band’s stylistic metamorphosis.

Featuring former Spider Gang member JOHNNASCUS, the song hints at an interesting new direction for the band’s discography.

Aptly described as genre-defying, the 3-minute song is almost epsodic in nature.

A mix of metalcore, trap metal, emo and other niche influences, “Antiamorous” literalizes the term “listening experience.”

Band/Artist Profile Blog Music Education

Dead Kennedys and Archetypal Punk Ethos

It was sometime in the winter when I heard Dead Kennedys for the first time. I was living in the passionless coastal town I’ve mentioned in posts before, friendless and freshly eighteen and so bored it hurt.

I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom with the screen door open, letting the cold winter air spill in.

My phone lay on the floor beside me, playing music from some strange YouTube ripoff app, the kind that you can’t find for free anymore after YouTube started its own subscription service.

I hadn’t yet surrendered myself to the trendy green music subscription that all the other cool teens had, so this was my only option. The app operated similarly to the company it was spoofing, only on a smaller scale that allowed for simultaneous watching and browsing.

I can’t remember what exactly I was doing at the time, only that I was letting the app cycle through random songs, not really listening, until a certain turn of phrase caught my attention:

We’re sorry, we hate to interrupt
But it’s against the law to jump off this bridge
You’ll just have to k– yourself somewhere else
A tourist might see you and we wouldn’t want that

Dead Kennedys, “Soup is Good Food”

Maybe it was the irreverence of the statement, but something about it struck me particularly hard. I immediately paused the song and restarted it, this time listening intently.

Up until that point, I didn’t know music could be that way: unabashed, unapologetic and unrestrained.

You Made a Good Meal

“Soup is Good Food” was not the first Dead Kennedys song I heard, but it was the first I really paid attention to.

“Jello Biafra – Dead Kennedys” uploaded by catharine_anderson to Wikimedia Commons, licensed CC-BY-SA 2.0

Released as part of the band’s 1985 album “Frankenchrist,” the song describes (quite blatantly) the plight of the working man in a post-industrial society.

Not only is the working man disposable, but society punishes him for resenting his condition, all the while remaining cheerily apathetic to his misery.

Depression, exhaustion and poor working conditions are socially acceptable in this dystopian society. In fact, this corrupt “system” is fueled by other disenfranchised and disposable workers.

We know how much you’d like to die
We joke about it on our coffee breaks
But we’re paid to force you to have a nice day
In the wonderful world we made just for you

Dead Kennedys, “Soup is Good Food”

This situation isn’t foreign to us. It’s a reality, perhaps even made worse by the innovations of the internet and artificial intelligence.

Killing the Industry

In my opinion, Dead Kennedys is one of the most archetypally punk bands to exist.

Formed in 1978 in San Francisco, Dead Kennedys debuted with their first recorded single, “California Über Alles,” the following year.

The song, a sardonic attack on California Gov. Jerry Brown, was succeeded by the release of “We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now” about President Ronald Reagan.

Both songs likened the two politicans — one a liberal, the other a staunch conservative — to fascist dictators, highlighting the invariable corruption of power when married to a politican’s ideals.

Cover for “Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death” by Dead Kennedys

While Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra eventually conceded that he was “off-base” with Gov. Brown, he levied criticisms regarding Brown’s apparent hesitance to “stand up to the rich people and the land owners who don’t think they should have to pay taxes for the public good.”

Biafra’s readiness to disparage any politican or public figure he felt deserved it, regardless of their political affiliation, colored the work of Dead Kennedys for the remainder of his career.

With the influence of Biafra, Dead Kennedys became a vital cultural force against the social and political climate of the 70s and 80s.

The band was also brazen in its condemnation of the music industry, illustrated with their track “MTV – Get Off the Air” in 1985.

How far will you go, how low will you stoop
To tranquilize our minds with your sugar-coated swill
You’ve turned rock and roll rebellion into Pat Boone sedation
Making sure nothing’s left to the imagination

Dead Kennedys, “MTV – Get Off the Air”

Biafra took great issue with MTV and other similar companies, which he saw as merely the extra limbs of a larger, hegemonic entity.

For Biafra, music was a tool of insurrection. Fame and wealth were unimportant; what Biafra really wanted was to rile the masses, radicalize the youth and make the people in power uncomfortable.

“Riling the masses” is not a new concept for punk, but Dead Kennedys did it arguably better than many others.

*cough cough* Sex Pistols *cough cough*

Final Thoughts

Listening to Dead Kennedys and reading transcripts of Jello Biafra’s spoken word poetry leads me to beg a very age-old question:

Is punk dead?

Counterculture eventually manifests its own type of conformity and stricture. Fashion becomes a uniform and community becomes exclusivity.

Looking at how self-proclaimed “punks” navigate online spaces (Machine Gun Kelly), it can be fairly easy to lose faith in the grassroots core of “punk.”

Photo by Evgeniy Smersh on Unsplash

But when I go to a punk show, I feel a lot different. There’s energy there, barely-restrained fervor that gives way to complete abandon as soon as the music starts.

There are people in studded battle jackets and crust pants, sure, but there are also kids in graphic tees and girls in dresses and fishnets. There are people standing at the edge of the pit and waving lost hats, glasses and wallets.

That’s what punk is to me: people who love wild music and hate the government crashing into each other in a whirlwind of cathartic kinesis.

So, punk isn’t dead. Not really. It just isn’t living on Instagram or Tiktok.

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: Black Bouquet

This summer has been an interesting time for music.

In my personal life, I’ve dedicated myself to cultivating my baby brother’s blossoming interest in different genres. His journey began with a timid interest in trap metal and currently spans numerous metal subgenres, experimental music and classic punk.

He’s also acquired a taste for 2000s-era emo music.

It’s amusing — and existentially terrifying — to see my fourteen-year-old brother listen to the same razor-edged songs I listened to over eight years ago.

Photo by Matthew Moloney on Unsplash

I guess good music (and teenage angst) really does transcend generational gaps.

In the name of broadening his musical horizons, I’ve started taking him to shows. Of these shows was that of Black Bouquet, a Raleigh-based gothic rock band, at Durham’s The Pinhook.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 necessitated the show’s cancellation. So while this article was originally intended to be a concert review, I’ll take the opportunity to shine some light upon an excellent (and underrated) local band.

Black Bouquet

Black Bouquet defines itself with many labels. Among these are “gothic rock,” “post-punk,” “jangle pop” and — what my brother most appreciates — “emo.”

Having listened to most of Black Bouquet’s discography, I definitely see the band as more emo than goth.

I largely attribute this to the work of lead vocalist Violet O, whose beautifully moody voice evokes the sensitivity and raw emotion that defines the emo genre.

Cover for “Haunt Me Once More” by Black Bouquet

The band’s gothic slant derives from their use of synths and melancholic string instruments, with their track “Footsteps” presenting a bass strain reminiscent of Lebanon Hanover’s “Gallowdance.”

However, where Lebanon Hanover delves deep into a cemetary-like gloom, Black Bouquet’s sound is upbeat and transcendent.


The band debuted in October 2020 with the single “Until You’re Gone,” an exuberant track with jangly instruments and a beautiful harmony between Violet O, drummer Michael Rumple and Violist Laura Mooney.

Following this release was the single “Just Kids” in November and the band’s first EP, “Haunt Me Once More,” in December.

The EP consisted of “Until You’re Gone,” “Just Kids” and several new tracks.

Cover for “Until You’re Gone” by Black Bouquet

The band’s latest release, their 2022 single “Footsteps,” is another impressive addition to their lamentably short discography.

An energetic, rock-inspired guitar contrasts with a morose and cold bassline before the rhythm takes on a pop-like beat. O explores the harsher side of emo vocals with several evocative screams, which accompany a vigorous guitar and drum combo.

Though “Footsteps” isn’t my favorite Black Bouquet song, it demonstrates the band’s experimentation with different qualities of the genre.


Band/Artist Profile Concert Preview

Max Gowan Artist Profile + Hopscotch 2023 Performance Info

About the artist

Max Gowan is a North Carolina based artist who has released six solo albums. He has also worked behind the scenes filling a multitude of roles in the music production process for other artists.

This collaborative process has become a large part of his musical work. He has been credited on albums by groups and artists including fuvk, Infinity Crush, Laptop Funeral, and computer science. More about his work in Mixing, Mastering and Audio editing can be found on his website.

Solo Work and Production Attitudes

The best parts of Gowan’s recorded music would arguably be its unique atmosphere and sonic nuance. These qualities are a product of the artist’s attention towards each track in the arrangement/recording process.

In an interview with Max Gowan for the WKNC 88.1 FM podcast “Off the Record”, the artist explained,

“Technically I guess you could call my music singer songwriter, but it’s very focused on instrumentals. I am big into riffs if you will.”

Listen to the “Off the Record” here on

This focus on creating interesting instrumentals is not just limited to the guitar. Rather, it is omnipresent in his recorded music. One of my favorite examples of his intriguing instrumentals would be the percussion on his track “Bad Breeze” off his 2017 album Far Corners.  

The percussion consists mostly of a single looping sample that seems to be a recording of a single flexible object smacking against a surface.

The combination of the sound’s unique timbre, omnipresence and rhythm is uniquely alluring and strangely calming. During the song’s choruses, additional layers of percussion are added to create nuance in an otherwise consistent atmosphere created by the looping sample.

The unusual sound persists throughout the entire track until the fade out of the song begins.

Gowan’s focus on instrumentals has led to the creation of recorded music that is interesting and complex while remaining pleasing to the ear.

Hopscotch 2023 Performance

Max Gowan will be performing in Raleigh, North Carolina during Hopscotch Music Festival on September 9, 2023 at Moore Square. More information about the festival can be found on the festival’s website.

-Daniel Turk

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: Babes in Toyland

I had a weird time last week. After contracting a cold from a Durham Chuck-E-Cheese’s, (I won’t add context) I spent around seven days in such acute respiratory distress that I reckon I only slept about three hours each night.

When you’re deprived of sleep, reality becomes indistinct. Such an effect is only furthered when you continue to attend your regular 9-to-5 and self-medicate with menthol-strawberry flavored lozenges.

It was during this strange and (frankly) horrible time that I became slightly unhinged. The only thing that kept me sane was the collection of music I listened to as I struggled to fall asleep.

I first heard Babes in Toyland at three in the morning as I lay on the couch sipping my third cup of herbal tea. Considering the band’s sound, it’s a strange juxtaposition.

Babes in Toyland was an American rock band formed 1987 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Though the band no longer exists, it certainly left an imprint on the music world.

“Babes In Toyland performing in Groningen, Netherlands, 1991,’ uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Greg Neate, licensed CC BY 2.0

The Band

Babes in Toyland consisted of a series of women, ultimately ending with frontwoman Kat Bjelland, drummer Lori Barbero and bassist Clara Salyer (brought on in 2015).

Bjelland and Barbero met at a mutual friend’s barbecue, laying the foundation for what would eventually become one of the most inlfuential female-fronted bands in the alternative rock scene.

Before disbanding in 2001, the band produced three studio albums, “Spanking Machine” (1990), “Fontanelle” (1992) and “Nemesisters” (1995).

The band was known for its particular brand of harsh rock music, with Bjelland’s screaming voice and lashing guitar mingling with the intensity of Barbero’s drums.

Though not technically a “feminist” band, Babes in Toyland covered themes related to female empowerment and feminine rage.

I, I live in the densest corner
Of the deepest mind of the f–most room
And sing “the stars they swing from their chandelier strings” (I know real love)
You know who you are
You’re dead meat, mother–
You don’t try to rape a goddess

“Bluebell,” Babes in Toyland

Riot Grrrls

While their sound is decidedly more grunge than that of their many contemporaries, such as Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland is largely considered to fall under the “riot grrrl” umbrella.

Riot Grrrl, born from the culture of sexism rife within the punk community, grew into a culture of its own with the efforts of inspired, passionate and angry young women.

Babes in Toyland captures this anger in a bold and brash display.

Cover for “Nemesisters” by Babes in Toyland

Some tracks are purely vengeful while others are irreverent and sardonic. They’re consistently punchy, tinged with a classic grunge smokiness around the edges.

Lyrics are cheeky, insolent and occassionally abusive, laden with vulgarity, profanity and innuendo. Listeners are struck by a sense of brilliant confidence, a kind of uncaring conviction typically reserved for men.

I wear the same face as you
And you share my sick point of view
But I do hate you
Vomit my heart
Pull my head apart
Vomit my heart
Pull my legs apart

“Vomit Heart,” Babes in Toyland

This doesn’t mean that Babes in Toyland is necessarily masculine, but rather that they redefine and recontextualize what femininity can be. Listening to their discography doesn’t invoke a sense of imitation, but rather the creation of something original and wholly unapologetic.

Cover for “Fontanelle” by Babes in Toyland

Their work is inspiring. Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill testifies to this, stating in an interview, “Even in the ’90s, Babes in Toyland was a band that was hugely important to us and we were like, God if only we could play awesome shows like Babes in Toyland.”

For women and girls feeling displaced in the music scene, it’s a valuable experience to not only look up to a female-fronted band, but to look up to a female-fronted band that’s arguably heavier and harsher than many of its male-fronted counterparts.

Song Recommendations

  • “Bluebell”
  • “Ariel”
  • “Vomit Heart”
  • “Pain in My Heart”
Band/Artist Profile

Artist Profile: DRAIN

After seeing friends’ posts about a recent hardcore show they’d been to in South Carolina, I finally decided to check out DRAIN, and they easily lived up to their reputation.

DRAIN’s first two EPs, “Over Thinking” (2016) and “Time Enough at Last” (2017) garnered public attention and solidified them as a prominent peg in the Santa Cruz hardcore scene. According to DRAIN frontman Sammy Ciaramitaro, “When people come to Santa Cruz, they’re like, ‘Oh, I get it, DRAIN looks like what this town looks like.’ We also sound like what you expect Santa Cruz to sound like.”

Following their local roots, DRAIN released “California Cursed” right after the dawn of the pandemic– April 2020. This is the album that first drew me to DRAIN. It’s one of those LPs I can’t help but move to when I listen to it.

Songs like “Feel the Pressure,” “Army of One,” and “Hypervigilance” are undeniably bangers, for lack of a better word, and they’ve helped the album quickly become one of my most-listened for the month.

Having an album released so soon after the outbreak of COVID-19, DRAIN wasn’t able to tour or perform any shows for “California Cursed.” This was especially unfortunate because of how vital live shows are to the fire that fuels the hardcore scene.

“Kids fell in love with music but didn’t have the chance for two years to see it live,” said DRAIN’s frontman. “Now that it’s come back, the feeling is, ‘I want to see it live. I want to go to every show. I want to experience it.'”

DRAIN’s most recent album, “Living Proof,” released on May 5 of this year. Its reception has been wider than any of the band’s other releases, and for good reason.

A review of the album in Kerrang! by Luke Morton reads, “From piledriving opener of “Run Your Luck,” “Living Proof” puts its pedal firmly through the metal, hauling a mix of chunky riffs and frenetic two-steps into a mosh-ready melee, superbly bolstered by Slayer-esque guitars and snarling, spiteful vocals. Despite the aforementioned Sammy being a genuine Good Dude, he is in serious F— You mode throughout “Living Proof,” spitting lines of defiance and individuality.”

I could not have put it any better.

DRAIN is currently on the “Living Proof” tour through the U.S. until the end of June. Here’s to hoping we get a Raleigh show real soon.

— bel$