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EP Review: Cast Iron-Canaries – Propagaga

Cast Iron-Canaries - Propagaga

While the old adage about pop music being disposable still rings as true today as it ever did, Cast Iron-Canaries’ “Propagaga” proves that there’s never a bad time to look back at your angry punk past. 

It’s been (nearly) 30 years ago today! Recorded in what once was the Mecca of hippie culture, San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury was a reflection of the nutty and wild ideas permeating out of punk and alternative rock in the 90s and, for a brief time, even concerning the mainstream. 

Many of their contemporaries glanced at this opportunity and asked: “Which way to the flannel luxury store?” Careerism was not on the mind of Cast Iron-Canaries, however. While they were already competent players, their obsession was with how much 90s alt-rock could let artists get away with. On the four-song set of “Propagaga” they certainly test the limits. 

The EP’s opener drops you straight into the band’s teenage world and their distorted perception of reality. “Eternal Prom Queen” is a mix of oi-punk and cavernous, post-punk vocals. It’s a nightmarish vision of eternal youth, complete with a full minute of guitar feedback and Barbie-doll babble. 

Clearly, making a record was a great way to settle old scores and write themselves as the heroes of their own stories. That’s what the band does on the EP’s best song, the glammy “All Dolled Up.” And bar the humor and the walls of guitar squeals, one can easily imagine Pretty Boy Floyd taking a stab at singing about “The Queen of Acid House scene.”

A more streamlined approach is used for “Peak.” The song includes jingle-jangle guitars, albeit turned up to 11, and poetic vocals. Had the EP become a bestseller, it would likely have done it on the strength of this song as a single. 

Still, ending it all in a polite fashion would just not do. “Zoom” builds on a post-punk declaration before exploding into a punk-rock shouting match. Many young musicians dreamed of changing their world. Cast Iron-Canaries tried to do something about it. 

And, so, thirty years removed from the punk-rock-powered desires of a revolution, “Propagaga” becomes a document in favor of youthful angst and where that all gets you. 

About author

Eduard Banulescu is a writer, blogger, and musician. As a content writer, Eduard has contributed to numerous websites and publications, including FootballCoin, Play2Earn, BeIN Crypto, Business2Community, NapoliSerieA, Extra Time Talk, Nitrogen Sports, Bavarian FootballWorks, etc. He has written a book about Nirvana, hosts a music podcasts, and writes weekly content about some of the best, new and old, alternative musicians. Eduard also runs and acts as editor-in-chief of the alternative rock music website Mr. Banulescu is also a musician, having played and recorded in various bands and as a solo artist.
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