… are one of my favorite bands in the world. November 11th saw the release of their new album, THE BRONX (titled exactly the same as their last two albums) and since finally acquiring it this past Saturday I have not stopped listening to it.
What do they sound like?
The Bronx sound like that moment when you’re in the pit at a show and exhaustion overtakes you, just as a wall of death comes slamming into your back. Silver spots boil in front of your eyes, your back goes live like there’s 1000 volts of electricity running through it and your vision becomes all hyper, I-might-die-now-and-I’m-seeing-the-world-for-the-first-time as you struggle to survive, only to catch a fifth wind and find yourself back on your feet and equally back in the rounds*.
That’s what The Bronx sound like. With a lot of melodic screaming, jagged, blisteringly hooky guitars and skull pounding rhythm.
Still not sure what the fuck I’m talking about? It’s like the first four years of BLACK FLAG if those first four years happened today.
I saw these guys for the first time when they opened for DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN back in, shit, ‘ought-three I think, at the once great FIRESIDE BOWL in Chicago. I was there to see Dillinger, almost retreated to the bar for the opening acts but then my younger cousin Charles came running in and said ‘these guys are pretty good’ and lo and behold, The Bronx blew my doors off that night. And seeing them there, probably the last show I saw at one of my favorite venues growing up (a venue that was a window into a different era of the music scene) was perfect because the stage really didn’t keep the band that much further away from you then if you were standing next to them at some party, so all frantic, frenetic energy and angry violent malarky was right in your face, beckoning you to join in.
So I bought their first album that day, and wore it out over the next couple years until ‘ought-six when I had just moved to LA and found The Bronx, now a local band to me, had released their first major on Island. Again titled eponymously, The Bronx kicked even more ass, every song having a nice violent, punk rock** hook and a this is real-this is us-fuck you if you don’t like it undertone to it.
Now with the third album, or The Bronx III as I believe it was referred to (probably for cataloguing purposes) on the sticker across the top of the disc, is finally here and it is equally as amazing as the first two. These guys are a hard working throwback to when music really was violent – but violent in a communally cathartic sort of way. Now there’s a bunch of douche-swilling poseurs (thanks Rafferty for that one) who think painting their faces like King Diamond on bad hair days and carrying skulls to all of their photo shoots make them bad asses. Look, just because you do or idolize those who do burn down churches, eat brains and kill people that doesn’t make you a bad ass – it makes you a murderer or a poseur murderer (only in the 21st century folks). Murderers tend to be the guys who would go down first in a pit and run crying back to their candle-lit room to write bad ‘dark’ poetry. Want to know what it’s all about? Check out The Bronx live while they are on tour and test your resistance to the return of the real.
* granted this is me reminscing – I haven’t been in a pit in quite some time. Not since crowd surfing at a Sno-Core show in 1999 (lame tour, there to see Mr. Bungle) when I hit the ground and NO ONE stopped to pick me up. Since then I’ve watched a great urban ritual become an excuse for a bunch of douche bags to stand around and punch each other. HEY, those of you who practice this art – go to a dive bar around closing on a Saturday and throw punches, leave pits to the people who know what the fuck they are doing!
** regular readers of my diatribes will remember how much I hate to call anything punk rock, but this is so fuck me and my hoighty-toighty hang-ups!