When I hear Spray Paint sing the refrain to Yawn Factory: “She drives a heavy load in the dark part of the country.” This image pops into my head of Large Marge in her big rig describing to Pee Wee the “the worst accident I ever seen”. Spray Paint are not the worst accident I ever seen, they are more like a traffic jam. Their spare twin guitar and drum attack pierce you’re conscious and create anxiety, stress and general disquiet. Spray Paint can grate on you and grow on you all at once.
After two attention grabbing singles the Austin band have released their first full length album. The songs are short and taut with lyrical spikes as well a guitar ones. The best ones on the record seem to come at the beginning of the album. Canadian Trash, Yawn Factory and Nose Whiskey all grab your attention. The second half of the record suffers from the band’s inability to ease up and let a little space into their claustrophobic and hyperactive sound. A little more variation would provide more space for impact. In that respect it reminds me a little of XTC‘s White Music. Maybe they should have tried a Dylan cover to lighten the load.
The album may not be an out and out winner, but I really like it. Spray Paint are working with a different set of instructions than most of today’s indie/ punk bands. They sound part Terminator futuristic and part back woods Deliverance.
stream: Spray Paint – Yawn Factory (from their Self-Titled album out on S.S Records)
Funny how Austin’s Big Boys were considered by many to be hardcore and/or skate punk. Sure, they were skaters and they were punks but their music isn’t so easily put into either of those categories. Back in the early 80’s, if you were doing something out of the ordinary or mainstream you were considered a punk. Punk was not just Sex Pistols, Clash and Ramones. In those days punk was what you made it, and Big Boys were one of the originals who made it up as they were doing it.
Don’t let the hardcore, skate punk tag scare you off. Big Boys had more in common with Gang of Four, XTC, Pylon, the Embarrassment and the Minutemen. Back in the early 90’s Touch and Go reissued the band’s full output on CD on the Skinny and Fat Elvis disks. Those two CD’s are highly recommended to get the full Big Boys picture, but up until now nobody had done a vinyl reissue. Light In the Attic has just changed that via their Modern Classic Recordings imprint. They have just reissued the band’s first album Where’s My Towel aka Industry Standard on vinyl in an array of colors in a vibrant yellow gatefold sleeve. Not only is it pretty to hear, but pretty to look at too.
My pre-order came in on Saturday and the record was on my turntable most of Sunday and then on my headphones at work today. It has been total fun to rediscover Big Boys in the vinyl medium they way it was originally intended. The years have not made this record any less vital, humorous and intelligent.
stream: Big Boys – Self-Contortion (from the Light In the Attic reissue)
Check out this short documentary that LITA had made for the reissue. Guitarist Tim Kerr and bassist Chris Gates (Singer Randy “Biscuit” Turner died in 2005 from Hepatitis C) reminisce about what it was really like.