THE POP NARCOTIC
Bands like the Pop Narcotic are why the much-yakked-about "return of rock" argument currently being propagated by scores of know-nothing music scribes rings hollow and tells us more about the lazy, wait-till-everybody-else-writes-about-it-first habits of rock journalists than anything else. Thing is rock never went anyplace for it to return from, thriving in dank little clubs these past several years while the airwaves and ink all went toward rancid assclown bands. If these Muzak writers had the gumption to get out from behind their desks and muster enough courage to see a four-act bill of bands they've never heard of, on the chance that maybe they'd find something worth their while instead of waiting till a "buzz" kicks in, they would have known this. Wouldn't you, Robert Hilburn? We've known this for eons because we actually go out at night—to places like the now-shuttered Koo's Art Caf, where one evening a couple of years ago, we happened upon the glorious Pop Narcotic, who floored a crowd of about 20 and, if the planets were properly aligned, would be basking in the hype and glory now being enjoyed by lesser acts like Trail of Dead, the Strokes and the Hives. Ride, a disc that's actually a year old (it was supposed to be issued on a proper label, but things didn't work out), is a glowing continuation of their first three-song EP, Mad, Frantic Negro Music, all evil and explosive and menacing and twisted and deranged and frenzied and psychotic and disturbing and very, very loud. The Narcs—if we can call them that—are clearly well-versed in the holy teachings of classic DC hardcore and the SST Records catalog (Black Flag and the Minutemen rule their world), loading up on cannonball-to-the-skull guitar riffs, blink-quick time changes, hyperkinetic drop-ins and fade-outs and screaming-vocal-as-terrorist-threat howls from lead yelper Jim Belisle. Just to subtlety throw you off, they pull weird, quiet shit, such as mixing in interludes with gospel choruses that sing about washing sins away, seconds before firing their aural buzzsaw up and clocking you upside the head with it. The Pop Narcotic are rock & roll not meant for weak hearts, are never, ever boring, and are just sitting over there waiting for you. So go say hi.
Contact: (714) 960-6866; www.thepopnarcotic.com.
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OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.