While much of America’s indie scene is busy raiding the back catalogues of The Band and Allen Toussaint (with Whitney and Twin Peaks being fine examples of how well that can work), Pittsburgh act The Gotobeds rely on something more simplistic.
Playing the kind of educated punk that Dead Kennedys and The Dead Boys helped push overground, their forthcoming Sub Pop record ‘Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic’ is an enthralling, engaging listen. Singer/guitarist Eli Kasan’s delivery is half-spoken, half-sung, but always with a keen sense of ‘kiss this’ nihilism in his tight-chested proclamations. He may snarl, but he’s never cartoon punk.
“We wrote songs for the LP in chunks, a’la ‘Metal Box’, where we’d write four or five songs, instantly hit the studio and record them and then repeat the process,” Kasan told me, although today’s NMOTD ‘Bodies’ bucks that trend. “The record was ‘finished’, and the boys joked that we lacked a hit. So out of sheer vexation I wrote this song in about 15 minutes.”
Stream ‘Bodies’ here, and below it read Kasan on why The Gotobeds called the record ‘Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic’.
Here’s Kasan on the album title:
“Like ‘Hex Enduction Hour’ [The Fall’s forth album] being a reference to time, ‘Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic’ are all units used to measure time. Blood being what went into it, sugar being whatever someone uses to self-medicate to make the poison go down, secs equals seconds of time, and then the funniest, which is traffic – surely the most maddening way to waste your life away? The average American spends 43 hours a year in traffic, which is truly a depressing statistic. Q: What is an LP if not a specific length of time documenting where the band were at in their lives during that period? A: A consumer artifact, I guess.”
Speaking of the Red Hot Chili Peppers reference in the album title, Kasan said: “It’s a funny diss to RHCP, who are likely now due a resurgence because pop-culture is cyclical and the 90’s are hip again for whatever goddamn reason. If we have the opportunity to be a thorn in someone’s side we often take that route…”
‘Blood // Sugar // Secs // Traffic’ is released by Sub Pop on June 10. Read Protomartyr’s Joe Casey’s biography of the band via Sub Pop’s site.