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Liquids: Hot Liqs Revenge 12"

Liquids: Hot Liqs Revenge 12"

Tags: · 10s · chicago · hardcore · pop-punk · punk · recommended · sethspicks · spo-default · spo-disabled
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Matte jackets, risographed inserts done by Oddities Prints, Liquids bumper sticker and a DL code

Generally speaking, the punk rock ethos is one slightly muddled by its own paradoxical philosophy; the idea that, as an accessible do-it-yourself three-chord act, you’re expected to exercise the genre’s “devil-may-give-no-fuck” attitude in order to create confrontational bouts of raw, intimate music that barks in the face of your oppressors -- internal, external, or otherwise --, and celebrate everything that makes punk so intrinsically cathartic and empowering. But of course, all of this means jack-shit when nobody can make out what the fuck you’re saying. That’s why a band like Liquids -- brainchild of Indiana’s Mat Williams, best known for his time playing in The Coneheads, Dagger, The Fritz, Guinea Kid, Scabs, and Pukeoid -- is one whose worth as a garage-y, glam-like solo project is elevated so far beyond its immediate deluge of vibrant, squeal-prone hooks and brilliantly infectious rock ‘n’ roll melodies. Since the band’s debut in early 2015, Liquids has always been an honest, shamelessly human introspective projected through the lens of highly electrifying rock ‘n’ roll fits, beautifully melding garage, pop, blues, and even hardcore sensibilities into a perfectly condensed lo-fi punk rock chassis. It is music so unabashedly pained and discontented, with lyricism veiled in a venomous sheet of nihilism and destructive impulses craving immediate discharge, that it only serves to magnify the songs’ uncontainable amounts of upbeat, yet bittered passion. As intense as it is intelligent, Mat’s continual usage of the Liquids handle has culminated in a discography chock-full of songs guaranteed to be underground hits once we’re all dead and gone. “Hot Liqs’ Revenge” is no different, compiling an assortment of pre-existing recordings onto one convenient wheel ‘o’ wax, exemplifying the eclectic, savant-tier songwriting coming out from one of the most rightfully-revered D.I.Y. musicians of the Midwest. Long live Liquids.

Our take: Latest LP from this midwest punk powerhouse. I’ve been fully on board with Liquids since they first started putting their recordings out into the world and I’m always excited to hear new material from them. If you haven’t heard the band, they sound to me like a mix of the Coneheads’ quirky punk with the youthful energy of the early Lookout! Records catalog, but filtered through the aesthetic of piss-raw DIY hardcore and garage. At the same time, though, I feel like that description does the band a disservice because they really do have their own distinctive sound… while I could see you liking Liquids if you’re into anything from Teengenerate and the Reatards to early Screeching Weasel to the catchier end of the No Way Records sound (stuff like Acid Reflux or Social Circkle), there isn’t anyone out there (at least that I’m aware of) that sounds precisely like them, which is truly the mark of a great band. In addition to their distinctiveness and their facility with a pop hook, another thing that I love about Liquids is that there’s always a giant helping of fuck you attitude included in everything they do. They’re very Replacements-esque in that there’s almost an element of self-sabotage at work in choices like recording some of their best songs with abysmal fidelity or making their bulging discography almost deliberately confusing, with tracks appearing on multiple releases, sometimes in the same version and sometimes not, different versions of the same release sounding radically different (I’m not sure if this is the case anymore, but for a long time the digital versions of Hot Liqs that were available online were vastly inferior to the vinyl version on Drunken Sailor), and a handful of records that had ridiculously limited / hard to get pressings. Also like the Replacements, while these choices seem to push away the casual listener, they’re basically bait to the super-fans… Liquids is going to be hard to digest for the casual bandcamp surfer, but those of us who tracked down the 7” only released in Brazil or one of the 111 gold vinyl copies of More than a Friend that were only available from Drunken Sailor (and yes, I am a member of both of those clubs) feel like we’re in an exclusive club, which makes us like the band even more. I doubt any of this is deliberate on the band’s part, but it’s worth noting as Liquids’ manner of presenting themselves is often as interesting as their music. Anyway, as for Hot Liqs Revenge, those of us who are on board the Liquids train will obviously find a lot to love here (even if we’ve heard a bunch of these songs before), but I’m not sure this is the best place to start with Liquids if you haven’t heard them before… a lot of the production here is super, super raw (though it varies a lot from song to song) and with a full 20 tracks that all bop along at a rather similar tempo it’s a lot to digest. So, if you’re just getting into Liquids I’d recommend starting with Hot Liqs, but if you’re one of us who just can’t get enough then you already know this is essential.