The Ukiah Drag: In the Reaper's Quarters 12"
I'm really surprised no enterprising British music journalist has named this little emerging scene of American indie/punk bands that seems to coalescing at the moment. While there isn't really a cohesive sound, there does seem to be something rather coherent in the aesthetic of bands like Merchandise, Destruction Unit, Milk Music, the Men, and Ukiah Drag (which, I guess, would make the definitive document of this scene the recent 3-way split LP on 540 Records). Even if they sound quite different, these bands share similar stories, with members coming up through the DIY hardcore scene and growing to make music that's a little bit more ambitious and refined. I guess that you might distill it down to kids discovering their dad's Neil Young records (something that's been going on at least since Dinosaur Jr), but still there seems to be something unique about these bands, and at moments they can make it feel like a genuinely exciting scene is happening. Well, with this debut LP Ukiah Drag seem determined to take their place at this table, bringing a sound that's equal parts the Neil Young-isms of the later Men stuff, Merchandise's druggy haze, and Destruction Unit's psychedelic forward lurch. However, the Ukiah Drag's signature move seems to be the Gun Club-esque punk/blues vamp, something that takes up a big part of the a-side of this LP and definitely serves as a sort of sonic trademark. However, by the end of the record you don't know what you're listening to anymore as it devolves into the ambient hum of "Night of Immaculacy." This is an ambitious, captivating LP, and I'm sure it'll be too "mature" or artsy for some, but if you dig the aforementioned bands this definitely fits into your scene for a reason.