Record of the Week: Fried E/M: S/T LP
Fried E/M: S/T 12” (Lumpy) This debut LP from St Louis’s Fried E/M is already a shoo-in for my best of 2020 list. I can’t think of a single thing about this record I don’t love… it’s just my style of hardcore. The base of the sound is snotty and punky US-style hardcore with a strong nihilistic streak a la the Germs, the Lewd, or Chronic Sick. While countless bands have attempted a similar style, rarely has anyone done it with this much skill, class, and elán. The guitar riffs are so broad and chunky that you might think they’re simple or tossed off, but listen closely and you’ll realize they’re composed and played with a subtlety that hardly makes sense given their velocity. Further, at a moment’s notice those stark and dramatic riffs can give way to a loose and wild lead that comes dangerously (and exhilaratingly!) close to flying off the rails. And then there’s the drumming, which is perhaps even more noteworthy. The Sweet Tooth 7” reissue that came out a few months ago reminded everyone that Lumpy is a great drummer, and this record cements his status as a powerhouse. Conventional wisdom would tell you that a punky hardcore band just needs a solid beat, but this record is overflowing with inventive rhythms and fills that fly by so fast you can hardly process them. If you’re a fan of Lucky Lehrer’s drumming on Group Sex, you need to check this out. While the guitar and drums are virtuosic (and the bassist capably holds down the rhythm), the vocalist seems to have crawled directly out of the gutter and into the vocal booth. He slathers and slobbers all over these tracks with all the subtlety of a rabid (puzzled) panther, delivering a performance that is both unhinged and ripe for singalongs. It’s hard for me to tell if this is something everyone should get or if it’s just perfectly in my wheelhouse, but if your taste is anything like mine, jump on this now.