Release Date: Jun 10, 2016
Record label: Sub Pop Records
Hey, you. Yeah, I’m talking to you up there, assuming that I’m down here. You’re looking for new music, aren’t ya? Something vital, something to cut through lukewarm chatter like a hot knife through pork fat. Post-punk? Don’t give me that ground beef! There’s folk out there that leeched it dry, drained its colour, re-branded it something awful, and yet were, hmm, too preoccupied to undo the damage until much too late.
What if the greasy tough dudes at your high school were really smart? What if they blasted the Fall, Death of Samantha, Mission of Burma, and early Sonic Youth in their muscle cars instead of hair metal? What if they read a lot of William S. Burroughs, Jim Thompson, and Richard Price when they weren't smoking Luckies and slurping cheap beer? What if they could hurl a sharp, witty insult as fast as their fists? Don't look now, but those guys bought some cheap guitars and drums and they've formed a band. The Gotobeds' second album, 2016's Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic, is a lean and mean slice of jagged rock & roll, straight from the garage but without any fuzztone affectations, and with enough attitude to strip the paint off your car.
The Gotobeds are a Pittsburgh-based group that put the punk in post-punk. As friends and collaborators of Detroit's Protomartyr, one might expect this four-piece to lean toward the moody, more foreboding side of the genre. However, just a couple of seconds into their sophomore LP and Sub Pop debut, Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic, and one will see a band reveling in the bombastic nature of their sneering rock'n'roll.
You’d be excused if you were wary of this Pittsburgh band’s second record thanks to its title, but don’t let it put you off. Beyond the terrible (and terribly unfunny) Red Hot Chili Peppers-derived pun lie 11 tracks of confrontational, angular post-punk. Abrasive yet melodic, The Gotobeds are a band who clearly don’t listen to – or deal in – bullshit.
Pittsburgh four-piece The Gotobeds’ Sub Pop debut is a delightful, riotous post-punk concoction. Ripe with guttural guitars, catchy riffage, and spitting vocals, it feels like the band’s cathartic output for their own skittish energy. The record’s experimental in nature – tracks such as ‘Bodies’ are laced with sun-soaked garage-pop sensibilities, while the beautiful, delicate build-up of ‘Red Alphabet’ explodes like a slow-burning volcano and sprawls across the palette from indie rock to artful, noisy dissonance.
The post-punk influences on Pittsburgh quartet the Gotobeds’ sophomore full-length, Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic (Wire, the Fall, etc. ) are literally right there on the sleeve, with its cut-up design aesthetic and block fonts. Amusingly, the CD booklet contains a hand-drawn diagram of some basic chords with a caption that reads “Please don't form a band!” The word “ADMISSION” is also stamped over and over on the credits page, which suggests that the Gotobeds might be well aware that the sound they are trafficking in—dour, self-aware post-punk—is a well-traveled road right now, and that perhaps they think they can redeem their sense of irony by turning it on itself.
The Gotobeds – Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic (Sub Pop)photo credit: Shawn BrackbillThe Gotobeds are hyped up, jumping out of their skins, standing on top of their amps. The Pittsburgh quartet has impressed two known quantities in American independent music enough without extensive touring or tons of positive press under their belts (first Gerard Cosloy and his 12XU label, and now Sub Pop, who’s picked up the tab from here). It’s all attitude, baby, and on their second album Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic, it’s out in spades, for everyone who remembers when rock music rocked, politics and punk could live together without cancelling one another out (or making one more about the other), and bands could dig into a specific influence without being too obvious about it.
?For a record steeped in off-kilter post-punk and chaotic garage rock, Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic retains a surprising amount of pop sensibility, providing it with an accessibility other records of its genre lack. ?Despite this, it’s still a record that clatters and cavorts with wilful abandon; the deranged Frank Black vocal yelps the perfect accompaniment to the screeching guitars. "Real Maths/Too Much" sets the precedent immediately, its apparent simplicity belied by an inability to adhere to just one time signature.