Neutrals are a punk band from the San Francisco Bay Area, channeling a wide range of '70s and '80s punk, post-punk, and indie-pop influences (Television Personalities, Wire, Gang of Four, etc). The Rent/Your House 5-song 7" EP is their second vinyl release, after their 2019 debut LP Kebab Disco on Emotional Response Records.
In protest at the current administration's treatment of immigrants and refugees, and at the growing threat of fascism throughout the world, the EP includes a cover of "Hitler's In the Charts Again," a 1981 B-side by Scottish punk band The Exploited. Guitarist/vocalist Allan McNaughton says: "I finally became a US citizen last year. As an immigrant, my situation in the US always felt somewhat tenuous, but now that my status is more secure I feel safer using my voice to speak out in support of those with less privilege."
All profits from the EP will be donated to two organizations currently working against the consequences of the modern-day right-wing policies of the US government, RAICES and Border Angels.
Neutrals are Allan McNaughton (Giant Haystacks/Airfix Kits), Phil Benson (Terry Malts) and Phil Lantz (Airfix Kits/Cocktails).
Our take: Neutrals is a band from the Bay Area, California featuring Allan McNaughton, whom you may remember from the bands Giant Haystacks and Airfix Kits. While I haven’t revisited those bands’ records recently enough to explain how Neutrals compares, I’m enjoying these five tracks. Neutrals’ songwriting style seems steeped in the straightforward, punky pop of bands like The Shop Assistants or the Primitives, but I wouldn’t say that Neutrals have a retro sensibility. They build the songs on a Ramones-y foundation, with the vocals carrying the melody and the lyrics tackling contemporary issues in a plainspoken style. All five tracks are winners, and I love the unaffected, unpretentious presentation. It feels like a band getting up and saying their piece about the world without pandering to the audience, which is part of what made me fall in love with DIY punk in the first place.