Recorded by Nick Skrobisz in Baltimore, MD 16 December 2017 to 17 December 2017. Mastered by Joe Plourde. Music by Dead Tenants. Lyrics by Doug Tenant. Album art by Nikhil Misra. Cover inspired by Yayoi Kasuma. Released on Buzzhowl Records Friday 12 October 2018.
Dead Tenants is a post-punk/noise rock trio from Queens/Brooklyn, New York. LP II (2018), would you believe, is the band’s second album.
So… this is another of those releases that skulked in the depths of my inbox for … well, in this case nearly five years. Clearly, the band have been waiting for this review before releasing anything new. Sorry for holding you up, lads!
I still have the email. It was from Jase and began:
How would you feel about reviewing a new album by a New York noise-rock band? […] If you would be interested in this that would be awesome, and much appreciated.
Over the last four and a half years, whenever I’ve spotted this album in my digital music player, I have felt a pang of guilt. It’s not like I promised anything. It’s not like anyone sent someone round to hurt me unless I got this review out. It’s funny how some things influence you.
“Jazz-infused drumming, cruelly distorted bass and searing treble-heavy…”
That’s how the short press release described the album.
I’ve been listening to this album throughout the day and it is both metaphorically and literally been the soundtrack to my day. A computer engineer visited my house to replace the motherboard on my work laptop. It didn’t go entirely to plan. First, he didn’t have the BitLocker key (and neither did I). Then after he left, I couldn’t log in to any Microsoft applications (I still can’t). Today has felt as disjointed and on edge as much of the music on this short, 27-minute LP.
There is a distinct post-punk feel to this lo-fi assemblage of guitar, bass and drums topped by mildly shouty vocals. In places it reminds me of the Dead Kennedy’s, in others of the attitude of Murder Inc. if not the style.
“Marginalia” (track 6) is probably my favourite track on this release. It’s probably one of the most straight-forward tracks on the album.
This isn’t an album to play as background music for your next dinner party. Hey! Maybe it is! It’s 2023. You do you!
Post-punk, noise rock, seeming chaos wrapped in drums, bass, crunchy guitars and half-spoken/half-shouted vocals. What’s not to like? I mean, only yesterday I was watching a video entitled “there are no wrong notes”. Context is everything.
I feel less guilty now.
Review score: 65%
Buzzhowl Records contacted me inviting me to preview Dead Tenant’s then-forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either Buzzhowl Records or Dead Tenant. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Jase from Buzzhowl Records, and to Dead Tenant for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.