[Wichita / Mom + Pop, 2013]
Brandon LeMaster, January 22, 2013
Listen: “Cheap Beer”
“Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk”, or FIDLAR for short, is the Los Angeles-based garage-punk band who takes their name from LA skate culture slang from which they are derived. As their name suggests on their self-titled, full-length debut, these guys are out to have a good time and they want you to know it.
FIDLAR began in 2009 when singer & guitarist Elvis Kuehn met singer & guitarist Zac Carper at a recording studio in Los Angeles. They recruited Elvis’ brother, Max, to play drums and Brandon Schwartzel on bass. But, the Kuehn brothers were not strangers to the music scene. Their father, Greg, was a member of the famed Long Beach punk band T.S.O.L. They spent their lives around punk rock and began playing music in bands at 11 years old. Before FIDLAR even began, they had already opened for the Adicts, Germs, Adolescents, and Agent Orange. After garnering a following in the L.A. area with a handful of 7-inches, an EP, and a raucous live show, FIDLAR are ready to unleash their punk-rock bangers to the masses with this new full-length.
While FIDLAR’s sound is indebted to classic SoCal punk rock and Nuggets garage, they list brands of alcohol (Miller High Life, King Cobra, Four Loko, Jameson, Steel Reserve, etc.) as influences on their Facebook page. These same descriptors could be used for the Black Lips, who FIDLAR mirror the most in sound, attitude, lifestyle. But whereas the Black Lips’ hard partying ways are implied through rock ‘n roll abandon, FIDLAR let you know directly what they are doing with their time. In a Pitchfork interview last year, they were asked if hip-hop (Elvis & Max had a hip-hop group named Head Hunters) ever manifests itself in FIDLAR songs. Carper stated that they like how blatant they are in hip-hop. During the thirty-nine minute runtime of FIDLAR we hear twenty-one alcohol references, fifty-one references to drugs, and ten general references of “getting wasted.”
What FIDLAR does so well is conjure up that specially balanced blend of classic rock ‘n roll with punk energy that can ignite listeners into a frenzy while chanting juvenile sing-alongs such “I! Drink! Cheap! Beer! So! What! Fuck! You!” and “Whore oh-ore-ho-ore!” There is the “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” sprint called “9 to 5”, which is a minute long tale of a 3:00am to 12:00pm night gone on for too long. Instead of calling it quits before the sun comes up, they decide to go in search for more, and end up arrested. “White on White” is the dirty garage-rock sound I hope to stumble into whenever I step foot into a dark smoky bar to let loose with a night of live music.
If hard partying isn’t for you, please don’t let it scare you away. This is enthusiastic rock n’ roll with enough hooks and earworms to be one of the catchiest albums you hear this winter. If you are like me (who is turning 30 years old today), you may be outgrowing this life style, but you can still admire their youthful energy and enjoy the fond, foggy memories of the all the dumb shit you used to do. For the group of folks still having fun as a twenty-something, FIDLAR is your fucking anthem.
And psssss…there’s a secret song, dude.