Monday, February 11, 2013

Fidlar Just Wants To Have Fearless Fun

Called everything from skateheads to slackers, Los Angeles noise rock-punk band FIDLAR aren't always taken as seriously as musicians as they deserve. Plenty of it has to do with what they write about — drink, drugs, sex, and getting lost in the perpetual party landscape that is the City of Angels.

The rest of it has to do with something else. Their music sounds easy to make, even if they never carelessly toss it together. But that's only the surface. Somewhere in between the bombastic cries for cheap beer and cocaine, FIDLAR knows that the party life has a price. They're willing to pay it.

FIDLAR pushes off polarized opinions for good times.

Everyone has an opinion about everything nowadays. Enough so that many people are pissed off and angry about one thing or another. So it makes it all the more enjoyable to hear singer Zac Carper having his priorities right.

His conviction? He drinks cheap beer. So what if drinking 40 or so makes the morning painful?

Other bands can write about the same thing and it still doesn't work. The beauty of this sing-along is in the passion in which it's played. They play every song across their 14-track DIY album the same way.

Stoked And Broke both glorifies and horrifies the lifestyle. While the band chants up the 60s-style rock bliss of it, the song ends on a sour note. White On White is similarly tinged with somewhat of a social conscience. The music is ferocious old school punk, but the lyrics shuck off any government service.

No Waves carries the album further in that direction, making being used up by drugs into a carefree rock ditty. It's an amazingly infectious party song with an anti-indulgence message that feels good.

The lyrics also ring like the polar opposite of their first EP, titled DIYDUI, which solidified the band's party all the time image. It's only partly true. They did record their first EP in a party house and recording studio shared by bassist Brandon Schwartzel and Carper. And Elvis Kuehn and Max Kuehn are the sons of T.S.O.L. keyboardist Greg Kuehn, which only adds to the mystique.

But like many bands making their own way in California, FIDLAR draws a distinction between living in the moment and wasting your life. Not everyone seems to understand the difference, especially because noise rock and punk bands tend to play the party venues. But it's there on the face of it.

I suppose it's why I like the band. It's incredibly addictive music with dangerously dark lyrics. They aren't afraid to take a chance (fuck it dog, life's a risk). But they aren't stupid either. They know well enough that most bands go bust under the weight of too much booze and drugs. The music rocks.

Even when the band becomes a bit self-indulgent on songs like Max Can't Surf, the honesty overrides any gimmick of just getting drunk. Most of the music is mosh pit ready even if some songs are a bit sugary and slick at times. Beyond those mentioned above, start with Blackout Stout, Wake Bake Skate, and 5 To 9. They are all fine tunes that celebrate the lifestyle but snark the idea of it.

FIDLAR Sinks A Lively Self-Titled Album At 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

More importantly, listen to the album two or three times. Almost all of the songs are smarter on the second pass, when you realize they aren't just singing about what you think they're singing about.

Most of the songs run somewhere about the two-minute mark, except the seven-minute beauty called Cocaine. The FIDLAR album is available on iTunes and you can also find the release on Amazon. Both stores carry it for about half of what most albums cost. If you haven't seen the FIDLAR tumblr, check it out. You can find the CD on Barnes & Noble.
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