Gay Kiss – Fault (Anxiety Machine Records, 21 December 2012)
HELLO OUT THERE! HAPPY 2013!! How’s life been treating you, dear readers?
I wish I could say that flipping the calendar over to a new year has also turned the page on all the problems and stresses and worries and other crap that infringes on my time I’d rather be spending with fun stuff like listening to music and writing about music and all that.
So far, that has not been the case. And at this moment I almost literally feel like I am bursting at the seams with stuff I want to share with you, because you’ve all been such wonderful, loyal readers for so long, I feel like you really deserve to be rewarded with some good music you can listen to.
For my first post as we enter into the thirteenth year of this millennium, I want to tell you about an up-and-coming group of young men who come from the city of Tempe, which is just outside Phoenix and is also the home of the ASU Sun Devils.
That band is called Gay Kiss.
I honestly can’t remember where or how I first found these guys, but one day in early summer 2012, I was randomly digging through my library of downloaded music I haven’t listened to yet. (Just in case you were curious, I just took a quick peek at that folder, and as of this moment it contains about 48 GB.) And I happened upon the four-song EP Dumpster Rules and decided to give it a try.
Now, with a name like Gay Kiss, there really isn’t any way you can know what to expect. The name does conjure certain mental images (and is perhaps fleetingly reminiscent of the band from Wayne’s World called The Shitty Beatles), but there’s really no clues as to what you might find, musically speaking. So in other words, I simply hit “play” on that EP without any real preconceived notions.
From the first seconds of the first song, the band really grabbed my attention with a bunch of feedback and frenetic noise-rock/hardcore. I listen to a ton of music, and to be honest I react sort of indifferently to a lot of it. But every once in a while something will enter my ears and make me stop whatever I’m doing (usually boring work crap) and do a double-take. This was one of those cases.
Dumpster Rules may only be four songs, lasting around eight minutes in total, but the songs are so well-constructed, and the sound brings in the best of several different influences: the pained hardcore shrieking (it occurs to me at one point in the second song that this is what “Territorial Pissings” had wanted to sound like), the Pissed Jeans-style layers of noise, the frantic drumming and the abrupt switches between fast and slow tempos… plus I can’t say for sure, but it sounds like there are two bass parts playing off each other, which just sounds really fucking cool.
So anyway, probably before I even made it to the end of the last song, I was finding the band on Facebook (using my phone, of course, because I usually try to avoid Facebook on my work computer in the first place, but I especially didn’t want to be using that particular search term on there!) and I’ve been paying close attention to what they’ve been up to ever since. As it turned out, a little while later I saw an announcement that the band would be doing a brief tour around the end of December/beginning of January, and one of the tentative dates listed was a stop in Pittsburgh! Fast-forward a few months later, and I got a notification on the 21st of December that a brand-new Gay Kiss LP had been released via Anxiety Machine (who also put out the band’s EP), and that the tour dates had been confirmed. Tonight (the 6th of January) they’ll be hitting Kopec’s Bar in Lawrenceville!
But first, about that new album. Fault has a little more than twice as many songs (nine) as the EP, and last a little more than twice as long (seventeen minutes), and it’s every bit as good as the previous release was.
Two of these songs — “Social” and “Defenestrate” — have been recycled from the band’s extremely-limited-release cassette that they had available last summer (which is now completely sold out), but they’re now available to download or to buy on vinyl for the first time, as well as seven more totally new songs.
The main contrast from Dumpster Rules is that I feel like I’m hearing two guitars and just one bass, rather than two basses, but it’s entirely possible I was just crazy in the first place. But the basslines are still slinky and groovy and heavy, with tons of crazy drumming and angry screaming and piles of feedback and noise. After a few listens, I think my favorite track here is “Spit Oath” because in the span of a minute and fifty seconds, it perfectly encapsulates all the things I’ve just described here about why I enjoy this band so much. Especially the bassline, which just seems to stomp on everyone’s faces as it worms its way in between all the rest of the parts.
The songwriting, again, is very well-done throughout Fault, incorporating plenty of tempo changes and mood swings — from the thick and sludgy intro of “Social” (and pretty much the whole closing track “Enclave”) to the somewhat more straightforward hardcore-punk “New March” and the first part of “Deus ex Machina” — the album takes you on a thrill ride full of twists and turns where you never quite know what’s coming next but you can be sure you’ll love it.
You can listen to Fault or download it for whatever price you choose (including free!) via Bandcamp. For those who prefer, you can buy the 12″ LP here.
The Dumpster Rules EP (from Feb 2011) is also available for listening or for name-your-price downloading at Bandcamp, or you may choose to buy the 7″ vinyl version here.
Although it isn’t available to download, and the physical version is sold out, the two-track Tour Cassette 2012 can still be heard on Bandcamp:
Pittsburgh-area readers, I’ll definitely be checking out this band tonight at Kopec’s, alongside local hardcore/D-beat vandals Cultivator and Möwer — and I cordially invite you to join me. Get more details here.