PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Punk Rock's WiiRMZ Rage at the Dying of the Light on 'Faster Cheaper'

Photo: Courtesy of the artist via Bandcamp

The eight songs on WiiRMZ's Faster Cheaper are like a good sock to the jaw, bone-rattling, and disorienting in their potency.

Faster Cheaper
WiiRMZ

Core Sample Records

3 July 2020

The joyfully bombastic quartet WiiRMZ hail from the same city that defined (and arguably invented) post-rock in the 1990s with bands such as Slint and Rodan. And they also come from the state that gave America two well-known right-wing windbags: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tea Party-backed Governor Matt Bevin. But on their sometimes-too-good-to-be-true debut LP, Faster Cheaper, WiiRMZ is less concerned with acknowledging the inheritance of the former than attacking the stances and societal "norms" established by the latter. "The concept of this band is exposing the brain worms that seem to have infested our political system," member Brad White said in a recent interview with 91.9 WFPK.

WiiRMZ, if the pitch-perfect and vitriolic opening anthem "Don't Panic" is any indication, are most definitely onto something. They might be offering the most acidic form of punk political commentary in Louisville. It's just tough to tell because it's hard to hear anything beyond the bombast. This thing is best played at 11. What it lacks in vocal precision, it more than makes up for with its venom. The eight songs on Faster Cheaper are like a good sock to the jaw, bone-rattling, and disorienting in their potency. It doesn't matter what they're screaming – because they're doing in the wonderfully emotive punk tradition.

And the band, though they feature alums from Louisville acts Metroshifter and Sunspring, owe very little to the city they call home. (Sorry, Scott Richter.) Yes, WiiRMZ taps into the 1980s hardcore that defined the Kentucky river-town before the likes of David Grubbs, Will Oldham, and Jason Noble showed up on the scene – particularly Your Food. But they are also singularly their own beast, offering raw-nerve Fun House-style punk cut with a distinctive undercurrent of 1980s strut and swagger. Need more context? Well, imagine a high-octane Pere Ubu fronted by a jacked-up Timmy Taylor serving listeners its take on Wire's Pink Flag, and you'll get an idea of what I mean.

But, just when you think you've got the whole record pegged and defined down to a T, it throws you a curveball – and some much-needed shade. "Hard Money", though it might be defined best by its sludgy chorus, actually hints at the pressurized bass/guitar dynamics of Rodan or Shipping News, two Noble-backed Louisville staples. And the title track, with its lazy-funk-guitar intro, could be a good road-map for Pittsburgh-based Sub Poppers the Gotobeds to follow on their next full-length player. It doesn't stomp so much as swing, despite the 4/4 march of the rhythm section.

The wonderfully titled "Rat Fuck" cops blues-rock, though not the sappy SRV-cover-band variety. "No More of That" avoids balladry (the first few bars scared me there, kiddos) for a full-throttled Ramones punk roar. The chorus, with its sing-along refrain of "No no, no no, no / No more of that", is an addictive little earworm. The record closes with "Warning Sign", which starts with a blazing guitar line (again, hints of Wire) but makes the most out of 3:07 run time with grungy power chords.

It's tough to say where WiiRMZ fit in the picture of contemporary underground punk. The quartet's members are careful students of their noisy forebears and have developed a juicy fury at the system to match the underpinnings of the cultural moment. If only we could make those pronouncements against Trump and Russian Mitch more audible, this thing could be riot-starting. Yeah, it might or might not be the birth of a band you're going to want to know. But, hell, all said, it's a damn fine place to start.

8

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.

Music

Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.

Music

MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.