new music: the intensity of black luck’s ‘firebrand’ ep #soundcheck

January 7, 2015

Lawrence, KS trio Black On Black made a huge impact with their twin 2013 EPs Get On With It and Let’s Get Cynical. The band has recently re-emerged as a quartet named Black Luck (presumably because Googling “Black On Black” lands you squarely in a negaverse of op-eds containing the phrase “but what about black on black violence?” And who has time to be that infuriated? Besides, I can’t afford to keep throwing my laptop at a wall in frustration and then replacing it…). The newly rechristened band maintains their breed of Revolution Summer inspired punk rock. The aptly named Firebrand EP is a tight-fisted ball of intensity.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

“I Dreamt I Died” kicks off with a wail of feedback before launching into a jagged riff that seems in constant danger of pulling itself apart. As always, frontman Wade keeps his vocals turned up to the point of distortion, like a shitty PA system cracking and failing. Few albums so perfectly capture the feel of seeing a punk band in their natural environment: the DIY space. But don’t think that means Black Luck are a sloppy lofi affair. Their songs may strive for maximum loud, but there’s a surprising amount of nuance and detail at work here. A lot of credit goes to their drummer who brings considerable variety to “play as loud and fast as you can,” calling to mind Brendan Canty at his best.

“Nothing Complete” is a must-hear for fans of the Dischord back catalog. Ferocious, emotional, and melodic, it breathes new life into a sound that never really got the chance to come into its own before grunge and post-hardcore squashed it. The real gem is “Cover It Up,” an ode to the tension and rage that’s all but defined the last 4 months.

“we bought your clothes

but while you’re sleeping

the tension grows…let it grow

can’t you feel it?

justice knows when it dies.

i pledge to watch it crumble

i pledge to climb the wall

monuments yield to redress

they are condemned to fall”

Black Luck is currently at work on their debut full length album, due out this fall. In the meantime, catch them at SXSW or on tour in late July. Or just get caught up on their last 4 EPs. This is some of the freshest punk rock out there right now.