Pep Squad – Live for This
The moment rock starts failing to attract much interest for soundtracks, TikTok videos, radio and, even, fast food commercials, you can start making plans to visit ol’ rock n’ roll in the retiring home where they’ll join jazz and bebop for an occasional game of cards.
Part of the decline is the snobbish nature of its fans. For the most part, the legions of those living on memories of making out to the sound of Joe Perry solos playing in the background, prefer their new rock as closely resembling the music they grew up with. There is also the younger contingent of rock fans, elitist beyond belief, who’d rather have ten people joining their gatherings, rather than helping those genres grow and develop.
Pep Squad make evil cheerleader music. They are not Lou Reed, Rush, or Slipknot, but then again none of those are vital anymore beyond the interests of a few. Live for This is a modern, aggressive rocker, big on the attitude, light on the instrumental cliches. It’s comic-book movie music. While highbrow rock aficionados will scoff, Pep Squad’s one of the few acts to give the radio pop artists a run for their money.
Death From Above 1979 – One + One
If there is one thing that accounts for the countless hordes of imitators that Death From Above have inspired it’s the militaristic boogie-punk produced by an army of two. Like Primal Scream drifting perilously close to chemical overload, or the Chemical Brothers playing their first live festivals, DAF is the rare rock group created to play modern parties, dances, and freakout events.
It takes a whole deal of excitement to power a vehicle as quick as this one and two decades into their career the band has lost little of its love of creating grooves that feel designed to help huge gatherings of people dance in tandem.
One + One finds the duo typically lean, mean, and keen to deliver songs like some talent show participants whose drinks got spiked on their way to the stage. The riffs and drum parts of the song are punk meets industrial-rock. The vocal delivery is clever and aloof.
Years on from their legendary debut, Death From Above 1979 continues to sound like the nasty, party band that all other garage-rock evangelists wished they’d been able to start.