Originally released in a WAY TOO limited run on vinyl by the awesome FDH label, this, the debut full length from Swedish synthwave gloom-garage noisepop trio Black Bug, immediately became our new favorite record, visceral and immediate, emotional and bombastic, a bloody screaming sonic gem, equal parts heart and hooks, groove and grind, blast and buzz, an insanely catchy chunk of ultra blown out, bloodied and bruised GENIUS that we literally could NOT stop listening to, and we automatically made it a Record Of The Week. We knew it HAD to be heard by more than just those 500 people. So in swooped Andee’s tUMULt label, to offer up a long overdue cd version of this glorious chunk of synthy sonic skree, which on its own would be well worth buying over again (and again and again), but the cd version also features TWO SECRET BONUS TRACKS, more on those in a second, first let us rave and gush about Black Bug and this amazing record…
We have been DYING for this. The Black Bug I Don’t Like You 7″ is probably our favorite single of the last however many years, we’ve played it to death, over and over, endlessly, just waiting for a full length to materialize, hoping and praying it would be even half as good as the 7″, but maybe steeling ourselves for disappointment. But thankfully that steeling was totally unnecessary, as the full length more than lives up to the impossible expectations set by that two song salvo.
This Swedish new wave garage punk 3 piece are a furious feral synth driven monster, their sound equal parts cold wave gloom, riot grrl yowl, in-the-red punk rock, and ultra raw blown out garage pop, but even that’s a bit reductive, there’s something magical about what these three conjure up, both in sound and song, with just synth, bass, vocals and programmed drums. Their sound is all over the map, from howling pounding furious crunch, to warped woozy synthy drone, to dour pulsing minimal cold wave, to super anthemic almost emo garage rock, and every variation in between. The recording is raw and lo-fi, the drums, the synths, the bass, the vocals, in various stages of blown out distorted crumble, the drums are clipped and weirdly processed, pushed as loud as they can go, the synth too, fuzzy, buzzy, wreathed in a sort of decaying haze, the vocals of frontwoman Lily are wild and unhinged and super emotional, sometimes a playful yelp, sometimes a cold croon, other times a full on hysterical shriek.
But it’s not just the sound, the songs are incredible, short sharp bursts of new wave gloom pop. “Fell In Love With” is like a lo-fi riot grrl Soft Cell, with stuttery drums, insanely distorted synth and blown out bass, and Lily’s vocals so intense and snarly, a depressive descending melody that is totally irresistible. “Inside Out”, one of the few songs with male vocals, courtesy of Lily’s partner Ruslav, a brooding propulsive chunk of synth doom, Joy Division via Cold Cave, like a more raw and lo-fi Sixx or Soror Dolorosa. “The Wave” is like an ultra raw lo-fi Aavikko a sort of woozy alien krautrock, “Beating Your Heart Out” is the buzz synth breakup song you blast in headphones to soothe your black and broken heart, a cathartic buzz drenched dirge, “I’ve Got Eyes” sounds like it could have been on Captured Tracks or Sacred Bones, that sort of modern retro synth wave weirdness that anyone into Blessure Grave or Blank Dogs should lose their shit over, “Make Her” is like some lost riot grrl anthem, run through a bank of busted effects pedals and broadcast through a wall of blown speakers, warped and warbly and crumbling before your ears, but somehow, still heavy and hooky and fucking incredible.
Record Of The Week, fuck that. Record Of The Year!!!! RECORD OF EVERY YEAR!
And the cd version manages to one up the vinyl, by including, as secret, unlisted tracks, both sides of the I Don’t Like You 7″!!! Both of which as mentioned above, absolutely fucking RULE! And for those who missed out on that single here’s what we had to say about it when we heard BB for the very first time:
Most female fronted, angry rock bands probably get tired of getting tagged Riot Grrl, especially since for all intents and purposes, Riot Grrl ceased to be relevant years ago, maybe even ceased to exist entirely. BUT, if anyone was hoping to spawn a revival, Black Bug would be the band to make it happen. “I Don’t Like You” is a mother fucking ANTHEM. The main riff totally distorted and so in-the-red it threatens to just fall to pieces, but then the chorus kicks in, and another guitar, EVEN MORE distorted and heavy and high in the mix, lurches into action, and lays waste to EVERYTHING. The drums are a mere pitter pat when faced with such blown out riffage, but it doesn’t even matter. The vocals, though, seal the deal, distorted, wrapped in effects, howled with haughty pissed intensity, as loud and corrosive as the guitars it snarls around. And the hook, shit, if you gussied it up and got rid of some of the guitars and re-recorded it in a real studio we’re talking something like the Breeders’ “Cannonball”, but instead, as is, it’s a fierce fucked up, filthy fucking ANTHEM!
Like the Raveonettes if they were 13 years old, obsessed with Turbonegro, and SO pissed at their shit-for-brains boyfriend. Or maybe Daisy Chainsaw, but with a singer who is less waifish and sexy, and more bad ass and scary as shit. Reminds us a bit of Monarch punk rock alter ego Rainbow Of Death.
“You A Grave” is not quite the ANTHEM as “I Don’t Like You”, but it still slays, processed synthy buzz, tons of effects, this one more groovy and almost dance-y, in a sort of robotic way, more sassy pissed girl vocals. It’s not hard to imagine Black Bug waiting outside some dance club and then kicking the living shit out of Uffie. Hellz Yeah!!
The cd version replicates the eye popping lazer skulled, snake and crow beam spitting artwork, in a super swank digipak.