Baltimore punks Angel Du$t have never wanted to move in a straight line.
Formed by members of Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice, they've voiced their frustration at the over-categorisation of music, at the way bands are suddenly pigeonholed, prevented from developing.
Sitting somewhere between a rough-around-the-edges Lemonheads with Elvis Costello vocal melodies, their new album 'Pretty Buff' engages by being surprising, funny, and incredibly catchy.
Clash caught up with Angel Du$t to hone in on a few of the formative sounds that first inspired them...
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The Feelies - 'Crazy Rhythms'
Discovering the feelies a few years ago did for me what discovering the Ramones did for me when I was a kid - it was a reminder how a lot of the time less is more. 'Crazy Rhythms' is a simple riff or two played a lot. The lyrics and the percussion really paint the picture.
On a few of these new songs from 'Pretty Buff' we challenged ourselves to use different tools to tell the story around really simple guitar riffs.
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Bad Brains - 'I Against I'
Bad Brains came to me after years of listening to heavier less dynamic hardcore. At first it was so hard to pinpoint what made them so impacting. When you listen to the Bad Brains it’s everything exciting about music happening all at once - intensity, next level musicianship, extreme vocals, great song writing, lyrics, and so on.
It’s the band that made me realise that all of those things are pieces to the puzzle and that the right combination could send me higher than any one of those things alone.
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Violent Femmes - 'Blister In The Sun'
The term “pop punk” gets thrown around so loosely that if this track were to come out in 2019, someone would try to put it in that box. What makes this band unique to almost any box is the sense of urgency you hear in the way they play.
Yeah, it’s kind of punk, it’s a catchy pop song but they play acoustic guitars so violently that it gives me the same release as a lot hardcore punk. It’s not hatebreed but 'Blister In The Sun' is a track titled that could easily exist on 'Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire'. I really appreciate how they blurred the lines.
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Big Bite - ‘Faith’
A common theme of all the bands that inspire Angel Du$t is a lawless nature - bands that don’t easily fit into one specific genre of music. Most of the bands I’ve mentioned are on the older side because for a long time people were obsessed with putting up walls and categorising bands mentally or on their iTunes or where ever.
Big Bite, a still newer and modern band, aren’t concerned with how you classify their sound. They just love rock music and pay it the kind of respect it deserves. Musically and as people, they have been a big source of inspiration for me since I met them years ago.
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Greg Sage - 'Straight Ahead'
The first time I heard the Wipers I had to re-analyse all my previous thoughts of what a guitar is suppose to do. I looked at my guitar and no longer recognised this foreign instrument. Everything was a lie. Later Wipers tracks incorporate acoustic guitars, but Greg Sage’s solo albums are primarily acoustic albums that left me wondering “what is an acoustic guitar?”
This particular track is driving and it’s not because of pummelling drums or big blown out distorted amps. It’s just the way this man is strumming his guitar that tells you he feels strongly. It’s compelling.
I would say this track most directly influenced 'Want It All' on our new record.
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The Replacements - 'Can’t Hardly Wait'
The Replacements are the phattest songwriters. That in itself is influential, but this song specifically sparked a desire for us to write something that could be so poppy and high energy.
I don’t know if the song ever existed on the radio but in the right time it definitely could have. I first heard it on a trailer for the movie Can’t Hardly Wait. We jokingly (but seriously) said that we wanted some of the songs on 'Pretty Buff' to feel like fun intros for sitcoms or movies from that era.
Also, we experimented a little with a saxophone or “rock the fuck on forever” but it was used in a complete different way. 'Can’t Hardly Wait' utilises the instrument in such an uplifting way that I think is represented on our record.
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Angel Du$t will release new album 'Pretty Buff' on March 15th.
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