I don’t think I’m ever going to see this band’s name and not think acid bath instead, that sort of scientific connection jumping to the forefront of my mind for some reason. Perhaps it’s the whole acidification of the oceans thing, due to excess CO2, contributing to the greenhouse effect on our climate. The oceans will become vast acid baths if we don’t act to halt the effect. Hey, that’s a good connection! See Acid Fast? You’re getting me to keep global climate change at the forefront of my mind.
(PS – I’m also not thinking of this Acid Bath, which would be even more confusing given the connection via music, albeit certainly not style.)
(What am I getting at exactly?)
OK, so Acid Fast is casualty of one of my goofy non-sequitur introductions, but that’s fine, it gets the ol’ creative juices flowing. The Oakland quartet is not actually a natural event, but a human one. The band’s name comes from a “drug-induced three-day break from food,” participated in by drummer Jaspen Tamero and guitarist/vocalist Hannah Conda (Hannah Conda = anaconda – I get it!). While that may or may not have as profound an effect on existence as ocean acidification (I’ll stop, I promise), it certainly was enough of a mile marker to name a band after, however ridiculous an actual event. (You at least need, like, Smarties or something.)
The other two members of the band have equally double-take-worthy blurbs in their press release: Vocalist/guitarist Frank Mann “practices black magic to defend himself against the cops and his family,” while bassist Cub Stairoyds (his real name is Sammy Sosa in the fantasy playing out in my mind – c’mon, Sammy Sosa on bass?) “is a cult survivor who now works as a high school guidance counselor.” I don’t know about you, but I either really want to be in Acid Fast or really want to stay as far away from them as possible. I bet the collection of personalities make for a good live show!
It certainly makes for some compelling rock n roll, and Rabid Moon is as compelling a debut record as the band’s bio. The influences are certainly worn on the Acid Fast’s sleeves, and they’re the good ones – eyeball that RIYL below, and you’ll get the picture. And I’m an absolute SUCKER for Archers of Loaf, so to hear Mann channeling his inner Eric Bachmann on “Triangle Park” or “Descending” is a delight to these old ears. Sometimes you just need that fast indie punk thing in your life, you know?
The energy is high throughout, from the mid-tempo fakeout beginning of “Tangle” (its BPM doubles halfway through the song and wouldn’t be out of place on Icky Mettle) to the obviously titled “Shred Forever” to brief closer “Enough Already.” Hannah Conda takes over lead vocal duties on a couple tracks, “Old Ideas,” “Rupert,” and “Tease,” and is ever present on backing or dual vocals throughout. The two singers complement one another nicely, and make for several welcome Superchunk-meets-Stellastarr* moments. It’s hard to argue with results like these.
There’s been much made about indie throwback bands these days, those that mine the indie and college rock of the late 1980s and early 1990s, perhaps most obviously the Exploding in Sound Records crew and their ilk (Speedy Ortiz, Ovlov, Fat History Month, Kal Marks, etc.). It would make perfect sense for Acid Fast to share a bill. Until then, jump around your living room and knock over bookcases – Rabid Moon is full! (I’ll show myself out.)
RIYL: Jawbreaker, Archers of Loaf, Superchunk