Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

The Psycho Nubs fall short

October 20, 2009

Once in a while, something comes across my desk and I just don’t know what to make of it. That was definitely the case with Alley of the Ignots by The Psycho Nubs.

This duo from Richmond, IN,  made up of Brandon Owens and Nich Shadle, is simply bizarre. The music is a mix of garage punk with a sort of high-voiced bubblegum pop that I found to be completely inscrutable. I’ve listened to the album several times, trying to determine what it is that I find so off-putting about this album.

First, I tried looking at the music. Instrumentally, the band is very solid. They follow a tried-and-true pop-punk formula that, while not entirely original, definitely works well. It’s hard to critique Owens’s or Shadle’s individual musicianship, since they both play guitar, bass and drums and sing for this album. They both show competence in this regard.

Then, the I realized the vocals were grating on my nerves. The band sticks with a high-pitched, wavering style somewhat reminiscent of Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes (a band that I really don’t like). That, combined with lyrics that seem to be trying to be witty and funny without quite pulling it off, make for music that I simply found annoying. Not all the songs are that bad, but many of them are.

I will admit, I really did like the song “PBR Me.” It’s catchy and it’s about one of my favorite social beers, but it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged.

All in all, I simply couldn’t get into Alley of the Ignots. I’m sure fans of Of Montreal and other bubblegum pop bands might find stuff to enjoy in here. It wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not for you.

The Psycho Nubs-First Human Beings To Die On The Moon

June 1, 2006

Band: The Psycho Nubs

Album Name: First Human Beings To Die On The Moon

Best Element: True to Punk – DIY Ethics.

Genre: Punk Rock

Website: www.psychonubs.com

Label: N/A

Band E-mail: thepsychonubs.com

Every once in a while, you just want to listen to something that’s stripped down, simplistic and enjoyable. In vein of traditional punk rock (A la the Ramones) you now have Richmond, Indiana’s The Psycho Nubs. The two-piece, composed of Brandon Owens and Nick Shadle, keep true to punk rock with their self-released debut First Human Beings To Die On The Moon. Both members are multi-talented and share the musical duties of Bass, Guitar, Drums, Vocals, and even some kazoo. Ten years of playing together has its advantages, as musically they are much tighter than many other punk bands. These two guys clearly know each other inside and out.

Though most songs are relatively short, there are 20 songs to enjoy, including a few stand-out, classic-sounding numbers such as “Captain Blake”, “Jail Song”, “State of Hate”, “World’s Largest Wal-Mart”, and “Gin and Smiles”.

The things which I respect most about The Psycho Nubs are their down-to-earth, do-it-yourself punk ethics and their socially motivated, anti-establishment lyrics. There is a massive disillusion in the mainstream about what ‘punk’ is nowadays. People think because you have a mohawk or studs on leather you are punk-rock. People even think that Good Charlotte is punk- and that is a travesty. Anyways I’ll stop rambling…the point is The Psycho Nubs are a true DIY band.

Formed back in ‘96 as two guys jamming in a grandmother’s kitchen, they have finally released their own, full length debut album, which overall is quite a good album. Like most, it is not without a few flaws. Despite the album being full of inspiration and emotion it seems to fall short on certain levels of their musical potential. It is likely more a personal preference, but with overly simplistic music my patience wears a bit thin. In their defense, the songs are well organized to keep a good variety of the tunes. Also in true punk fashion they have had their music in two indie films, including the spastic, catchy, “World’s Largest Wal-Mart” on theWalmart: the High Cost of Low Price soundtrack.

If you are looking for more traditional punk rock this CD should be right up your alley. Stripped down, politically/socially motivated, honest-to-anarchy punk.

-Josh Hogan

josh@orchidscurse.com

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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