(Detonic Recordings, 2014)
I’m pretty sure when I hear a band called School Damage issuing a 7-inch called “Break Up,” I know what I’ll be in for. Sure enough, the Melbourne band is bratty, brash, and primitive, and tailor made to play that high school dance (or whatever they call high school dances in Australia, they have better names for everything than we Yanks do) where everybody’s hooking up with someone else’s girlfriend or boyfriend. And yes, the breakups then follow. I feel like I’m sitting on those pull-out bleachers again, watching everybody have fun but me. Fuck this, I’m outta here.
School Damage is a four-piece synth-led indie band, featuring Jake from Os Mutantes – er, that’s Ausmuteantes, and I’m sure they sound nothing alike – and Carolyn from the bands Chook Race and Pronto – see, what’d I tell you about the Aussies and their vernacular? “Hey guys, my band is called Chook Race, so FUCK YOU.” Sometimes I wish I was Australian. Fun fact: I actually almost grew up an expat in Australia – it’s true, but it’s kind of a boring story because it didn’t happen. (But if it had, I’d hang out with Nick Cave every day.) Anyway, Songs like “Sick of You,” “Butt Hurt” (!), and “Break Up” sound way better coming out of Carolyn’s mouth than they would some other jerk’s. She strikes the right snot balance.
If I had to pick a favorite tune here, I’d probably go with opener “Sick of You,” because it kind of sounds like that time Elastica ripped off “Three Girl Rhumba,” except it doesn’t sound like Elastica and it doesn’t sound ripped off. The laser synths are a nice touch. Or, maybe I like “Butt Hurt” because it’s just that luscious grinding indie rock that needs to be refreshed in public consciousness every once in a while. But maybe I’m in the mood for a slow jam, or a “slow jam” with quotes, so there’s “Break Up” to contend with as well. It’s a puker at the end of the night, with lots of pig’s blood dousing the dance floor. Because you have to reference Carrie!
Add it up, and Dik’s Detonic Recordings is behind another solid vinyl slab. That’s three out of three by my count. He may never screw anything up, ever.
RIYL: The Rondelles, Wire, Elastica