These SoCal miscreants came shredding down the alleys of the LA punk scene in 2009, and have recently been LA-reppin’ with the likes of Pitchfork and SPIN Magazine. FIDLAR consists of Zac Carper, Brandon Schwartzel, and brothers, Elvis and Max Kuehn, and the boys are set to release their eponymous record on Mom & Pop/Wichita recordings January 22nd. This highly anticipated release is fresh on the heels of a year spent touring with the Hives, Delta Spirit, and JEFF the Brotherhood. Their fuzz-drenched, pedals to the metal take on garage rock makes FIDLAR hard not to like. Their sound is reminiscent of the late surfer-punk scene that was setting roots in the late 70’s (e.g. Agent Orange, the Angry Samoans, and the Misfits). The band’s name is a moniker derived from the acronym “Fuck it, Dog, Life’s a Risk,” and that’s the “no bullshit; no boundaries” attitude that makes their new album so irresistible.
The album’s opening track is tinged with a gritty, psychedelic garage rock timbre as it catapults the listener into a feeding frenzy of “Cheap Beer”, slutty girls, and kickass guitar licks. As PBR’s supernova off the ceiling, the follow-up track, “Stoked and Broke,” lets you know that you’re in for a smoking ride. By the time their new single “No Waves” is spinning in your head, you’ll not only be sold, but you’ll have a much clearer sense of just how fucked up these guys are. “Max Can’t Surf”, “Wake Bake Skate”, and “Paycheck” are some other tracks that are all good in their own right. “Gimme Something” is an easygoing ditty that will probably be the hit song of the summer until it dawns on us, the Hive Mind, the tune we once knew and loved so much is in all-actuality an empty shell of a song. Much to our benefit these guys have probably never experienced the 9 to 5 grind. [Insert LeVar Burton catchphrase: “But you don’t have to take my word for it…”] I’ll let the song “5 to 9” speak for its self. The album closes with “Cocaine.” A track that’s heavy on the distorted reverb and drug references. It slowly opens up like a 13th Floor Elevators tune, but shifts gears into a driving anthem about cheap sex and even cheaper cocaine.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork lead singer Zac Carper mentions how much underground hip hop has influenced their band. Their lyrics are crafted in the same blatant and off-the-cuff style you’ll find in hip hop. FIDLAR is a far cry from the lyrical likes of Chris Martin or any Ben Gibbard project to date. This is the band your parents didn’t want you listening to. If I was in one of these guys’ families, I’d probably be concerned for their well-being, but as it is, I’m kickin’ it comfortably on my couch listening to a bunch of grungy freeloaders who lead a far more exciting life than I ever will. Without a doubt this new record will spawn a new wave of fans for FIDLAR. We can only hope they won’t turn out to be one of those bands Urban Outfitters will someday destroy.