Release Date: Sep 4, 2015
Record label: Mom + Pop Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
If FIDLAR’s 2013 self-titled debut was a hyperactive teen, its scruffy garage-punk rushing from high to high via, well, cheap beer and cocaine – ‘Too’, its follow-up is the inevitable late-20s comedown. Ostensibly, it’s a document of frontman Zac Carper’s descent into, and rise towards recovery from, drug addiction. Where song titles point - ‘Overdose’, ‘Sober’, ‘Bad Medicine’ - lyrics follow; by the umpteenth time he repeats the line “one day, I’ll be coming home to you” during ‘Stupid Decisions’, it’s clear there’s neither a ‘home’ nor a ‘you’ for him to return to.
On their self-titled debut, FIDLAR sold themselves as a gang of drunk and stoned fuck-ups. The Los Angeles-based garage punks practiced what they preached, but it became too much for frontman Zac Carper. Out of rehab, he had to decide: stay the course and sell a lie or change things up and risk losing the band's identity.Carper chose the latter, and FIDLAR are all the better for it.
The chequered past of 1990s punk looms over today’s lush musical landscape like Banquo’s ghost with a sticky bleached mohawk and a Carhartt hoodie. Long forgotten flesh holes flap morosely, Offspring t-shirts are stuffed deep into the Narnia section of many wardrobes and the clink of a weighty wallet-chain is a sound rarely heard but oft remembered. Fidlar would have hit puberty around the tail end of the genre’s glory days and, as such, the unreconstructed banter and beer-sodden lyricism of Pennywise, Less Than Jake and NOFX is still something of a sonic highwater mark.
FIDLAR is an acronym for “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk,” a phrase you might stumble upon at the local skate park or in the back seat of a car as the driver passes back a tall boy of malt liquor and asks you to parcel out another line of speed. The appeal of FIDLAR is self-evident: It’s a battle cry for those bored to death by life, a shot of false courage that takes the place of “no. ” It’s also the name of one of Southern California’s most hyped punk bands, a foursome of reckless 20-somethings who can’t seem to decide whether they’re thrilled or bored most of the time.
Has success ever truly been an accident? It might be in the case of FIDLAR, a Los Angeles garage-punk band that slapped together a no-effs-given debut album in 2013 that was concerned with not much more than parties, drugs, being broke, and being drunk, and ended up winning the foursome a crop of self-glorifying, self-loathing admirers. Now, FIDLAR have returned with their sophomore LP, with its on-the-nose title TOO. This time, the West Coast kids aren’t feeling so good about being smashed anymore.
First things first; in order to put this record, and the band in general, into some pretty stark context, this recent profile of FIDLAR from Consequence of Sound is an important read. On their first album, 2013’s self-titled effort, they set out a mission statement that was decidedly devoid of nuance or complex design; skateboarding, booze and a general sense of boredom and disenchantment prevailed, although not necessarily with any serious suggestion that this was a band in any way interested in tackling the big issues head-on. FIDLAR was great fun, but it never seemed as if it was supposed to represent more than that.
If the 2103 debut album from party-hard punks FIDLAR sounded like the height of a rager, the band’s follow-up makes the uneasy transition to the day after. Still bratty, juvenile and loaded with energy, the music on Too belies the lyrical focus, with songs about trying to grow up like nothing’s changed when clearly the drugs and booze have more than taken their toll. Aging—gracefully or not—is a serious subject and one that FIDLAR comes to with no limit of authority.
When L.A. garage punks FIDLAR emerged in 2013 with their self-titled debut, they were lauded for their mix of classic SoCal punk (Circle Jerks, Descendents, Fear, etc.) and brash, melodic indie jangle with occasional clamorous surf tones. That first slab introduced their fuck-all world-view of cheap beer, cheap drugs, skating, surfing, and partying, and, in spite of its abrasive and somewhat simplistic subject matter, was a pretty fun ride.
For all its excess of 'I don’t give a fuck'-ery, Fidlar’s self-title debut managed to strike a chord with fans and critics alike at its release two-and-a-half years ago. The themes of excess were notable in their extremity: by no means a record of average skate-punk partying as would be bellowed out at the Warped Tour to drunken frat-boys, Fidlar was a record more worrying than that – an air of self-destruction permeated every track, and the lyrics were believable from the off. It was a record bereft of the romance often associated with the lifestyle of touring, recording and generally getting wrecked: closer listens bore witness to a band playing with fire.
For a band like FIDLAR, the idea of artistic growth seems kind of oxymoronic, or for anyone familiar with the L. A. -based punk dirtbags, maybe just plain moronic.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Before breaking into the meat and potatoes of FIDLAR's sophomore effort, Too, it is probably important to issue this disclaimer: this review is being written by a person with a FIDLAR tattoo. If this does not properly convey my love for the group's self-titled debut from 2013, then perhaps nothing can.
Joan Shelley, "Over and Even" (No Quarter). As strikingly well crafted as a Shaker cabinet, the new album from the Louisville, Ky.-based singer and songwriter is built with well-honed materials: electric and acoustic guitar, accordion, piano, banjo, tambourine, glockenspiel, violin and voices both ….
Fidlar’s self-titled debut album was about as straightforward as albums come. The L.A. snot punks did drugs, got drunk, shit on humanity, and sang about it with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. They weren’t trying to change your life. They weren’t even trying to look cool. They were just ….
True to Fidlar's acro-name – Fuck It Dog, Life's a Risk – life in the aftermath of the L.A. skate punks' eponymous 2013 debut remains perilous. Too thus takes a harder look at the carnage of hard living. Twitchy, creeping addict's lament, "Overdose" mirrors leader Zac Carper's experience kicking heroin and crack, which fueled the first LP.
Frontman Zac Carper of garage punks Fidlar recently opened up about kicking heroin, meth and alcohol and finally getting clean after an intervention and rehab. On the L.A. band’s follow-up to their 2013 debut – a surprising record of party anthems that brought Fidlar onstage alongside the Pixies and the Hives – -Carper confronts these demons head-on, writing directly about his addictions and the struggles of staying sober.