Dub Thompson are Max Pulos and Evan Laffer, an unhinged duo hailing originally from the supposedly affluent Agoura Hills, a city just north of LA that has also given the world success stories like Linkin Park and Hoobastank. But their music is anything but what one might expect from such a lineage. It’s probably possible to count on a single hand the number of bands who seem frighteningly compelling today, and the opening salvo of ‘Hayward’ goes a long way in convincing that Dub Thompson just might be one of them.
Punk’s not dead. It’s been twisted, contorted, rolled up, flatten, warped, smashed, deconstructed, reconstructed, de-reconstructed, and bent into a variety of forms – from UK82 to post-punk – but it’s certainly not dead. Dub Thompson is one of those bands whose debut release topically resembles little of the punk aesthetic, but it’s all there in the rhyme and the reason.
At the time Dub Thompson recorded 9 Songs -- which, in actuality, has only eight tracks -- Matt Pulos and Evan Laffer were a couple of California dudes not yet in their twenties with terrific taste in music. The pair spent their high-school years absorbing the discographies of bands ranging from Can to This Heat to Big Black, and their debut album's shouty, elastic post-punk workouts show they can spit their influences back out with ease. 9 Songs is bookended by two of its most fiery tracks, "Hayward!" and "Pterodactyls," while the title track is a two-and-a-half-minute tour through Pulos and Laffer's fluent rapport on guitar and drums.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: two teens from the suburbs of Los Angeles with a nonsensical band name make a sloppy but inspired psychedelic racket, get signed to a Secretly Canadian subsidiary imprint, and make an album under the tutelage of an older, more seasoned mentor. That’s the Foxygen origin story in a nutshell, but just a year after that band’s Richard Swift-produced breakthrough, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, their 23-year-old guitarist Jonathan Rado is already eager to replay the script—only this time, he’s promoted himself to the big-brother role. Dub Thompson—that is, singer/guitarist Matt Pulos and drummer Evan Laffer, both 19—hail from Agoura Hills, the next burg over from Foxygen’s native Westlake Village.
Listening to Dub Thompson’s raucous debut album, 9 Songs, it’s both surprising and fitting that the duo of guitarist/vocalist Matt Pulos and drummer Evan Laffer are still just teenagers. Hailing from the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills, they bring a noisy, darkly brooding collection of songs that belies their hometown’s sunny disposition. Feeling more at home in a smoky, beer-stained basement than at the beach, Pulos and Laffer find their inspiration from a wealth of cult trailblazers like Big Black, This Heat, Pere Ubu, Kraftwerk, Can, and The Fall.
?“Who the hell are these kids and what the hell have they been listening to?” is the standard reaction after hearing Dub Thompson’s new record 9 Songs. While the latter becomes clearer as you play the record again, the former remains a mystery. It turns out that Dub Thompson is a duo, ‘Max and Evan’ (Pulos and Laffer, respectively), who obviously are huge fans of the music being made around the time they were born (or some ten years before).