These rising rockers prove California punk is alive and well
Fans of California punk: rejoice.
California punk is legendary; The Doors made sure of that back in the 70s. Since then, we've seen a slew of bands come and go, lost in the smoky haze of garage shows and dimly-lit local venues, the kind of tumultuous anonymity that comes with being a true punk rocker. This air of badass mystery and fast-burning anguish pervades the punk rock sound of Oakland band Rays. Set to release their excellent self-titled debut via Trouble in Mind Records on March 30th, their particular brand of faded California punk is a powerful tribute of the genre's storied past, and an exciting reminder of what's coming.
The post-punk outfit—comprised of Bay-Area vets Stanley Martinez, (guitar and vocals) Eve Hannan (bass and vocals), Alexa Pantalone (drums and synth), and Troy Hewitt (guitar, organ, piano, and synth)—is as steeped in Jim Morrison's legacy as they are in the modern: it wouldn't feel out of place to lump them with the angst-ridden energy of Pity Sex or Palma Violets. What makes this relatively new group stand out is the sonic power they wield. It's the kind of jarring, powerful, sound that undoubtedly comes from experienced musicians.
Their debut is a collection of 11 short songs; the longest one being the fuzzed out, organ-driven "Dead Man's Curve," which clocks in at 3:29. The rest of the songs on the album don't tend to go past the three-minute mark, a testament to how much the band can stuff in so little. Rays crafts large sonic landscapes of screeching guitar and punk rock poetics ("Drop Dead"), their sound never lacking the kind of delicious, rebellious freedom one should feel when listening to punk. It's a testament to their lyrical and musical prowess that the lightest offering on this debut is called "Pain and Sorrow." The best part? You can still jam to it.
Combining the aesthetic of the 80s with a modern punk sensibility, Rays is the pensive, fun punk band we need in 2017, a time when a punk rock revolt is long overdue. Popdust is streaming the album exclusively until its release, so get your fix before anyone else while you still can.