From the scuzzy, fuzzy den of Castle Face Records comes the first full length LP of Flat Worms, called – wait for it… Flat Worms. It comes out spittin’ fast paced, gnarly, in your face rock. The three-piece punk band reigns from Los Angeles and brings the energy of a slow burn fall on the skateboard ramp. The scrape is itchy and it burns. The band mates: Will Ivy, Tim Hellman (Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps) and Justin Sullivan (Kevin Morby, The Babies) whipped this full length into a frothy frenzy, with vocals you can follow and a rhythm you can catch.
The first listen took my ears a minute to adjust and hear through the middle-distance feedback and begin to recognize the stride of the album. Vocal execution of a Kraftwerk robot had me snagged, where some bands lost my interest as soon as the singer stepped up to the mic. With this album’s kind of face melting shredding, the vocal pitch and tone had to be just right to pace the edge of the instruments. The guitar and drums on Flat Worms never get a chance to breathe. Vocally, Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts immediately comes to mind. You’ve gotta have a powerful voice to stay distinct amongst the fuzz and repetitive drum beats. Flat Worms is good ol’ rock fun in all its glory. They are clearly informed by all cool forms of rock music from the past four decades, but seldom barrow from them. No fancy pants or tricks here. And with most “new’ bands releasing albums this year, it’s refreshing to find a new album that isn’t content/art-school heavy. We don’t always need to learn about the beauty in apple farming off the coast of Oregon, or how the mist covered hills of West Virginia represent the strife of modern man. Can’t we just have catchy melodies and a little edge?
Bands like Parquet Courts and (early) The Strokes gave us a break from the coffee shops with lattes too hot to drink. Beanies that sit at the top of your head – don’t even cover your ears!? The jeans that come from the factory already ripped. Flat Worms give us a bleached out look into what it’s like to spike an almost cashed can (or bottle, if you’re dangerous) of brew against the sidewalk. Trip your friend while he’s walking in front of you. Childhood fun. Innocent in the grand scheme of things, but dangerous enough to raise some nervous laughter from your belly.
Flat Worms is not the album to play while reading in your living room. It’s the album to mow the yard to, chop the firewood, or get the chainsaw out and bring out your inner arborist.
Castle Face Records, and I have said it before, is the most exciting record label going on right now. John Dwyer has created a label built on well executed fuzz rock that is as creative as it is successful. Most vinyl releases sell out immediately and has a cult like following of loyalist to a sub-music culture that are becoming popular enough to peak up every now and then on public music airwaves like CPR and Open Air.
Flat Worms “A little Wipers, a little Wire, and a lot of late-capitalist era anxious energy.” – Castle Face Records 2017.
Album: Flat Worms
Release: Castle Face Records, October 2017