Music News

Local Motion: The Shrubs and Daze

We here who grind away in the County Grind like to respect and promote our local efforts. In today's Local Motion, we look at a pair of releases by Boca Raton's Livid Records, a fine compendium of local and out-of-state acts that is rapidly becoming one of the "friendliest" independent labels in the U.S.

The Shrubs
The Shrubs Are Fucking Dead
(Livid Records)

It's true. The Shrubs are fucking dead and have been for quite some time. But County Grind likes to pay its respects to the dead in one way or another. So here, finally, after all this time, is a little review of their only recorded legacy. That the quad brought drunken mayhem to their live sets and violence (mostly among themselves) is not "cute" local lore. It's fucking true. If ever there was an act out of South Florida that was wired to self-destruct, it was the freaking Shrubs. Case in point, I still have bits of Chuck's guitar in my parents' garage from their final show. Bits of guitar that, I might add, almost took one of my eyes out. But oh well, we here in South Florida saw them with the same morbid and Sea World "splash area" fascination that others before us went to G.G. Allin concerts.

It is also true that a small documentary of their ins and outs exists somewhere, but what was once sheer energy live cannot be captured on camera. No. These five songs left behind by Chuck (guitar/vocals), Rictor (vocals/guitar), Erik (bass/vocals), and Los (drums) is all you'll need to know that in punkdom, three fucking chords is all that matters when nothing else does. "Drunken Anthem" is that, drunk and fun, a sing-along for kindred spirits. "Reefer Stole My Girl" has always had a funny way of reminding of Axl Splat (of '90s South Florida act Splat) going on the Ricki Lake show for a "My Boyfriend Would Rather Smoke Weed Than Fuck Me" type of episode. "So Fucking What?," "Zombie Chicks," and "Robotchu" close out the legacy with the requisite fun that only stealing from the Refused could bring.

So even if they are gone, the memories last, regardless of how many splinters have been pulled out. That we may never bear witness to another case of maniacal depression with suicidal tendencies, I raise my glass!

Slow Down to Speed Up...
(Livid Records)

Zurich, Switzerland,'s Daze has been at it for a little over a decade with a fine-honed blend of garage rock via a punk rock/grunge hybrid. To pin them as any of the aforementioned would be wrong because they walk many avenues where genre relevance is kind of unnecessary. Brothers Mathis and Moritz Eigensatz share the vocal duties and guitar and bass respectively, with Andreas Keller on second guitar and Peter Baracchi on drums. Chocolate, cantons, neutrality, the pope's personal Gestapo, and bank accounts don't factor in here. No, this is pretty solid rock 'n' roll with enough '60s pop to make it catchy and infectious when necessary and slow and artsy when it absolutely must be.

Minimalist in execution but big on levels, Slow Down to Speed Up... is really what the hipsters need. An excellent example is the one-two punch of "Fate Over Me" and "I Want You Here," which deliver an impressive kitschy pop gelling seamlessly into a far grimier sludge of distorted grunge. Or if your bag's more along the lines of early Seattle grunge, I dare you to tell me that "Mr. Brown," the opener, wouldn't be cozy at home on some lost Nirvana recording.

But it isn't so much the case of a Swiss act wearing its influences on its collective sleeves. There's more: These guys have been around for a while and know what they are doing. They craft songs very well. That's undeniable. An extra boost is the album art by Helena Garcia, the art wing of Livid Records and, some might say, the better half.

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Abel Folgar