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Album review: Steady States - EEEPEETOO (EP)

Album review: Steady States - EEEPEETOO (EP)

(Photo by Paul Garcellano)
Apparently, I am now old enough for the sludge, stomp and insanity of my youth to come back around. Are The Melvins, Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Helmet and Young Marble Giants my classic rock? Are young bands claiming my freak-out heroes for their own now? Judging from what I hear on Steady States’ new EP, the answer is clear: the bands that I discovered as rebellion to the bullshit of ‘80s and ‘90s radio are now the template of rock ‘n roll. And I’m fine with it. The band (Joel Shields, Mark Lewis, Bob Comire, Kyle Anthony) flies in the face of what’s expected in “alternative rock” and spits into the wind with no regard of who will get hit in the back splash. I appreciate that approach.
From the opening chords of “Muzzle & Fitness,” the leadoff track, I hear the space between Scratch Acid and Jesus Lizard-era David Yow. Abrasive, chaotic, insane rapid-fire rock that, I suspect, was made for the sole purpose of pissing off those that are not already unacquainted with the asylum that is Steady States. I appreciate this approach; I myself occasionally start fires (figurative ones of course) just to see what burns.
Therein lies the beauty and the rub of Steady States: it is a band that clearly pushes what convention accepts as rock ‘n roll, and history has shown us that pushing boundaries doesn’t equal mass appeal. However, EEEPEETOO has no hopes of mainstream success; it will not get anywhere near the gated neighborhood that the mainstream comfortably occupies but they will find an audience, and I suspect, a rabid one at that.
“Happiness” comes on like a Helmet track, if guitarist Page Hamilton was blasted out of his gourd; it’s ominous, slightly off-kilter, mostly instrumental, the kind of tune a serial killer would love. The track “Mound City” is every bit as sludgy as Gluey Porch Treatments-era Melvins, but strangely has the most potential of all the songs to see even a second of radio time.
“White Caps” is almost bluesy, departing from the form of the previous tracks. The guitars of Shields and Lewis work perfectly within the bass and drums in a way that gets under your skin, stuck in like a splinter or a leech that refuses to let go.
I hate to use the word “refreshing” in any of my reviews but EEEPEETOO is refreshing, in that it ignores what many in music hold dear: mass appeal, widespread acceptance, and fame. Steady States is making the music it wants to make and throwing caution to the wind. The group strives, it seems, to not be like the rest and in that will be the weird, wild, and noisy beast.

EEEPEETOO was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Weights & Measures Soundlab by Duane Trower.
Catch Steady States as they celebrate the release of EEEPEETOO Saturday night, February 8, at Davey’s Uptown. Red Kate, Loose Park, and The Brannock Device will also play. Show starts at 9:00 pm, $8. Facebook event page.
--Danny R. Phillips
Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph music scene for well over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the nationally circulated BLURT Magazine and his work has appeared in The Pitch, The Omaha Reader, Missouri Life, The Regular Joe, Skyscraper Magazine, Popshifter, Hybrid Magazine, the websites Vocals on Top and Tuning Fork TV, Perfect Sound Forever, The Fader, and many others.

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