If you’re not already aware, everything about Portland is exploding these days. Including underground metal and hardcore. Two of the city’s best underground bands, Gaytheist and Rabbits, not only share a common love for all things heavy from the Pacific Northwest — namely Melvins, Tad, and the Wipers — but they now share an album, as they’ve collaborated on one of the most enjoyable split releases to come out in recent memory.
Not your usual split release at all, this is a whole lot more than two bands slapping songs on either side of a record. Both bands supply a couple originals, sure, but they also cover each other’s songs and perform separate versions of “Soap Scum”, a new song co-written by Gaytheist’s Jason Rivera and Rabbits’ Josh Hughes specifically for this release. With each half mirroring the other, with both bands meeting in the middle for “Soap Scum”, GAY*BITS is a raucous blast of noise rock and stoner rock that you won’t want to end.
We asked both bands to provide some commentary about this amazing new record, and they responded with a wonderful little back-and-forth:
Jason Rivera: We were all like, “Oh my god, we like love Rabbits!”, and then we were all like “Oh my god, we should like do a record with them!” and then like it totally happened.
Josh Hughes: Like totally what he said, but like the opposite.
Jason: Yeah so we thought it was a different band called Rabbits and now we’re stuck with it. But these super dreamy studs were making this racket, and we were all, “They suck but they have what the kids love: hot licks and dirty tricks”.
Josh: We didn’t know they were actually gay. We had always thought the homosexual agenda was a myth, but these guys pretty much brainwashed us into becoming part of the gay conspiracy to overthrow Christianity. The name should’ve tipped us off.
Jason: I will be THE ADULT and be serious now. Both our bands put out records on Good To Die in 2012. We hit it off with each other and after melting each others faces at various shows, we discussed doing some sort of interesting collaboration. Then a mere three years later we got our shit together and did it! We are the doers!
Josh: We talked about a lot of different ideas to make the split very collaborative, but ultimately came up with a way that we didn’t have to be in the same room together. So we each did two originals, covered two of each others’ songs, re-recorded an old song with other singer singing, and wrote a song together that we each recorded separately. Very symmetrical.
Jason: I came up with the name!
Josh: Yeah, he said we should call it GAY*BITS, and I said, “It has to be.”
GAY*BITS will be released 21 August, and can be pre-ordered here.
Both bands are currently on tour — sadly not together — but be sure to catch them if they’re headed your way:
Aug 22, Star Bar (Festicide), Portland
Sept 13, Mississippi Studios, Portland
Oct 2, Sunset Tavern (Macefield Festival), Seattle
Oct 29, Eagle, San Fransisco
Oct 31, Viper Room, Los Angeles
Nov 1, Tower Bar, San Diego
Nov 3, Metro, Salt Lake City
Nov 4, Neurolux, Boise
August 21, Black Water Bar w/ Danava and Long Knife (Festicide), Portland
August 27, Victory Lounge, (Roachella Festival), Seattle
August 29, The Bloodshed w/ Drunk Dad and Dead (AUS), Portland [matinee]
Sept 25, Turn! Turn! Turn! w/ Panzer Beat, Portland