Release Date: Jan 14, 2014
Record label: Tough Love
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Brooklyn’s Big Ups have recently been ripping up most of New York’s smaller dive venues. But though the toilet circuit suits their scuzzy, slacker snarl-punk perfectly, this debut album shows they’re setting their sights much higher. On ’18 Hours Of Static’ they manage to capture the frenzied nihilism of their live shows, but also transcend them to become an incisive indictment of modern life.
Us Europeans definitely have a rose-tinted, misty-eyed view of the States, musically at least. It’s as if Brooklyn is nothing more than one big hipster commune, all thrift store plaid (not tartan) shirts, beat-up Fender Telecasters, and scruffy boys drinking PBR. When The National unveiled the list of guests on last year’s ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ and it included the likes of Annie Clark and Sharon Van Etten, they shrugged it off: “they’re just neighbours of ours”.Big Ups’ debut ‘Eighteen Hours of Static’ perfects, within its eleven tracks, the ability to both smash these dreams and keep the wonderful myth alive.
Sometimes its about the pure rush of adrenalin, sometimes its about the anger, and sometimes its all how it all fits together. Big Ups’ début record fits in that latter category as Eighteen Hours of Static feels more like a concept album and presents with an incredible amount of unity and design for a primal hardcore experience. It’s not just about is abusing vocal chords for the pure hell of it.
The template for soft verses and loud choruses is at least as old as the Pixies. At least. Of course, everyone from Nirvana and the thousands of bands that begat them have since used the formula to startling effect, but no one does it quite as unexpectedly as New York’s Big Ups. On their debut LP, Eighteen Hours of Static, the group, which can make quite a racket, can gradually fade on its verses, bringing the volume of the cacophony down to a mere whisper, before exploding in a maelstrom of shrieking amp feedback on the choruses.
"I feel like I've led a pretty happy life," Big Ups frontman Joe Galarraga lets slip during a few uncharacteristically chipper seconds of "Goes Black". He's not even through with the sentence before he finds a way to bum himself out: "...how come all I can remember is the strife?" What's bugging Joe Galarraga? Well, whaddya got? Compulsive self medication, Gen Y apathy, the wastefulness of disposable razors: no matter the subject, Galarraga's got a few choice words on the topic. Throughout Eighteen Hours of Static, the arty Brooklyn post-punkers' howling debut LP, Galarraga and company put the world on notice.
If ever there was a case for musicians living a life at odds with the music they create, Big Ups is it. These four grads from NYU's Music Technology program got together to make 90s post-hardcore heavily indebted to the Touch and Go and the Dischord Records rosters. Some might call them dilettantes; others will say it's just the band members escaping the dreary life of the tech industry (bassist Carlos Salguero Jr.