Thursday, May 29, 2014

Plague Vendor - 'Free to Eat'

Despite considering myself one of those people who doesn't really like the direction that Epitaph has been going in the last decade or so, I actually like a lot of their current roster. The Menzingers, Off With Their Heads, Alkaline Trio, Bad Religion, The Lawrence Arms, Social Distortion, Motion City Soundtrack, and even Weezer to an extent. And now I can add Plague Vendor to that list. 

I don't even really know how I ended up at Epitaph's webstore, but somehow I found myself browsing their site and I saw the Plague Vendor LP/shirt bundle and it made me angry. Leaving vowels out of a band name as a trend already kind of annoys me, but it annoys me even more when a band regularly spells their name with vowels intact but leaves out the vowels on their merch. Plague Vendor's shirt did just that. Yet it still compelled me to check them out. 

I'm glad I did.

Remember in the early 2000's when all those garage rock bands like The Strokes, and The White Stripes were gaining prominence? Plague Vendor sounds kind of like that, if there was a more surf/garage feel to the music. I guess in a way, they're more like The Hives than the Strokes or White Stripes, if The Hives had more of an American proto-punk swagger. Free to Eat, the band's debut album, has ten tracks and only runs for about 18 minutes. There are surfy guitars, a thumping bass and pounding drums, but the real star of the album is probably the howling vocals of front-man Brandon Blaine. Even on a studio recording, he carries an intense energy that comes off like it's a live performance. Too bad the only time the band is coming near me soon is on the Warped Tour. I'm sure it'll be great exposure for the band, but I'll wait until they do their own tour to catch them. 

You can stream the whole album via YouTube below, or buy it through Amazon here.

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