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Why Bother?: A Year of Mutations 12"
Why Bother?: A Year of Mutations 12"

Why Bother?: A Year of Mutations 12"


Tags: · 20s · egg punk · hcpmf · midwest · synth punk
Regular price
$18.00
Sale price
$18.00

In the heart of the heartland, a mere ten miles from where the airplane carrying Buddy Holly crashed into a frozen cornfield, lies Mason City, Iowa. A town so small that it's pre-pandemic punk scene (with 20+ bands) went almost entirely unnoticed. That is, until the music of WHY BOTHER? and the "Punk on the Plains" compilations (curated by WB? drummer Paul), were made available by Tremendo Garaje - one of YouTube's most obsessive gateways into contemporary underground punk music.

WHY BOTHER? is Terry on vocals + synth, Speck on guitar, Pamela on bass, and Paul on drums. Their sound takes the classic Midwestern punk approach of The Zero Boys and Toxic Reasons, adding in warm layers of synth and sci-fi thematics ala The Spits and darker post-punk moments in the vein of early Joy Division. Yet there's so much more to this band that defies comparison, for WHY BOTHER? are truly a singular experience.

"A Year of Mutations" collects tracks from the first four WHY BOTHER? EPs, all of which were released in limited cassette and 7" lathe cut runs in 2020 and 2021. These have all been remastered, paired with several new tracks exclusive to this release, and repackaged in a fresh layout with artwork from D.H. Strother. WHY BOTHER? have no plans or intentions to perform live, but their basement 8-track recording setup shows no signs of slowing down. Expect more in 2022 & beyond!


Our take: Sam at Feel It Records has a knack for finding innovative and exciting new bands that are (at least before he puts them out) flying under the radar, and Why Bother? fits the pattern the label established with bands like the Cowboys, Sweeping Promises, and Smirk. Like those groups, Iowa’s Why Bother? sounds fresh and exciting, making music that’s grounded in the past without being bound by it. A Year of Mutations (which compiles tracks from previously released DIY cassettes and lathe cuts along with several new tracks) encompasses everything from driving, Spits-esque punk (“Buried in the Landfill (of My Mind)”), Electric Eels-style art-punk (“There’s Something Out There”), 80s-sounding indie rock (“Hum Drum”), and surf-inflected, California-style punk (“More Brains”), the disparate styles linked by the band’s restless creative energy and the charmingly lo-fi recording style. While I’m all for a band finding a formula that works and sticking to it, Why Bother?’s eclectic sound makes A Year of Mutations feel rich and fleshed-out in a way that much of the underground and DIY music I listen to doesn’t, yet everything still coalesces around the energetic and driving rhythms you want from punk. A standout release even within Feel It’s impressive catalog.