Fidlar - Fidlar 12 inch
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The L.A. skate-punk band FIDLAR don't make music you'll grow old with, and they won't get an "A" for originality, but that's not really the point. While there's a definite lineage and history here, the quartet's self-titled debut is about today-- being young, broke, drunk, ecstatic, and not worrying too much about what happens next.
The 14-song collection includes a song called "No Waves" that sounds a lot like Wavves (as does the descriptive "Wake Bake Skate"). There's also a song called "Max Can't Surf" about their "ginger" drummer's lack of balance, and plenty of West Coast party anthems. But you're probably right to assume that, while punning on "no wave," the "waves" in that title is also a nod to Nathan Williams' similarly snotty project. Like Odd Future, these guys established their band identity via the internet, and they're savvy about their references.
Toward the end of December, FIDLAR covered the Descendents' "Suburban Home" for Filter's Milo Turns 50: Songs of the Descendents compilation. That classic California punk quartet are obvious influences on the scatological, silly subject matter of FIDLAR; where the Descendents fixated on farts, girls, coffee, and not growing up, though, FIDLAR populate their songs with cheap beer, cheap cocaine, cheap weed, and "shitty pills." And their sound is closer to former tourmates Black Lips and, at times, their early heroes Blink-182 (see the vocal lines of "Five to Nine" and "No Waves" or their cover of "Dammit") than it is 1980s SST. But the spirit is there: While you'd never mistake FIDLAR's playful approach for that of, say, the intense snarl of Black Flag, they'd do a great job with "TV Party".
Despite their youth, you get the sense that these guys have been playing music for a long time. (It's worth noting guitarist Elvis and his brother, drummer Max, are the sons of T.S.O.L. keyboardist Greg Kuehn.) They've operated as FIDLAR since 2009, and released a couple of EPs prior to this collection. That time was spent honing a brand of hopped up, surfy garage punk that comes with more variety than you might expect. They veer from sounds that evoke the Ramones ("LDA", the opening to "Cheap Beer", and the general "Rock 'n' Roll High School" vibe) to poppier take on the Germs minus the danger and the Misfits minus the goth. They also weave in western acoustic elements in a move reminiscent of the Gun Club ("Gimme Something", "Cheap Cocaine," "Whore").
But, again, the way FIDLAR seem to function as their own clique is most reminiscent of the Descendents and their life-philosophy espousing "All-O-Gistics". Though beneath the sunny hooks, FIDLAR suggests a darker, more nihilstic worldview. In "Stoked and Broke" they shout: "I just wanna get really high/ Smoke weed until I die.../ There's nothing wrong with living like this/ All my friends are pieces of shit." And as they like to remind you in interviews and at their live shows, FIDLAR is an acronym for "fuck it, dog, life's a risk." That said, across these 39 minutes, they also make life sound like a lot of fun.