Punk rock is in a sad
state. Bands claiming to place punk at a
level of high worship and reverence like Green Day are slowly but surely
killing the genre they claim to love.
Who can come to the aid of the music that, thankfully, kept me safely insulated from the hair bands and the
Garth Brooks fanatics that dominated the rural Missouri school I was forced to attend by
mere bad luck and geographic circumstance?
Stiff Middle Fingers, that’s who!
The Lawrence, Kansas,
hardcore band that started life as a way to champion their favorite bands and
cover the tunes they loved, have taken their Black Flag/ Articles of Faith/
Misfits worship to the next level with their first ep of original material, Enemies with Benefits. Enemies with Benefits (available for
download at www.stiffmiddlefingers.bandcamp.com)
drips with the aggression that fed the late 70’s/ early 80’s hardcore punk
scenes that gave the disenfranchised youths of the world legendary bands like
Black Flag, The Minutemen, Crass, The Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains and Naked
Raygun. Stiff Middle Fingers (Travis
Arey, Cameron Hawk, Aaron “Barry” Swenson and JP Redmon) have cast aside the
pop punk influences on the music that have become so prevalent in the past two
decades among punk rockers. The boys
have gone back to school so to speak, doing their homework, digging to the soul
of the classic hardcore mold and, in the process, have made a blistering,
super-charged truly punk ep that clocks
in at a mere nine minutes and 37 seconds.
All the topics you’d
expect to hear on albums like Black Flag’s My
War or Husker Du’s Land Speed Record are here for your aural pleasure. There’s a woman that’s a monumental pain in
the ass (“Psycho Bitch”), being broke as a joke (“Common Cents”), finding a way
to wipe out half of the world in the name of boredom and re-new able energy
(“World’s Biggest Guillotine”) and just plan giving up (“I’m Done”). No, Enemies
with Benefits is not the groundbreaking album that will forever change the
face of rock n roll. That is asking a lot of an ep recorded in a basement on a
bologna sandwich budget. However, what
it will do is renew a fans faith in punk rock and make you want to knock some
mug corporate yuppie type’s teeth out.
Goddamn, I love when a band is not afraid to be who they are or say what
they want to say. That spirit feeds rock
n roll and Enemies with Benefits is
an all-you-can eat buffet. – DANNY R. PHILLIPS
Download: the entire ep! It’s only 9 minutes – see the