Searching through the staggeringly enormous pile of mailed-in CDs that tends to accumulate in the WGTB office every few weeks is always a fun diversion, and there’s no better feeling than finding a true gem of a band at the end of all your digging. Luckily for me, that was exactly what happened when I tore open the elaborately-taped package sent to us from Madison, Wisconsin based record label Kitschy Spirit to uncover a vinyl copy of Trash Knife and Dumb Vision’s recently released Split EP. Neither band is one that I’d heard of prior to listening to this record. Nonetheless, I was convinced after just a single playthrough. Split EP is a testament to rough-around-the-edges DIY punk that brings together two incredibly talented up-and-coming bands from vastly different regions of the country. Featuring six songs, three from each artist, the entire album clocks in at barely more than ten minutes but still manages to offer an extremely satisfying taste of what both bands have to offer.
Philadelphia punk band Trash Knife start the EP off strong with their lo-fi epic “Inna Funk.” Soaring guitar riffs serve as a counterpoint to fuzzy, grimy drums before the song descends into a first verse that relishes in the East Coast accented snear of their vocalist in a manner that is reminiscent of fellow Philadelphians Slutever. There’s nothing self-indulgent or intricate about the way Trash Knife approaches their songs, just unadulterated garage rage that lasts exactly as long as it needs to in order to capture the feeling it’s trying to convey. The sense of urgency behind the music is evident without being preachy, and the end result is an intoxicating combination of classic Descendents-esque punk rock and Melkbelly style noisiness.
For the second half of the EP, Madison’s own Dumb Vision brings a heavy dose of the mournful, resentful punk flare of Midwestern punk bands like Motorcycle Crash. Like Trash Knife, Dumb Vision certainly knows the value of concision, and each song packs a serious punch without becoming ostentatious or repetitive. Classic, punchy punk guitar riffs are paired with simple but poignant solos on “Modern Things” in a way that resembles what Matt O’Keefe does on quintessentially Midwestern punk songs like “In My Bed.” Similarly, “Creepy Crawler” pairs riotous instrumentals with to-the-point lyrics that could have come straight out of a Replacements song. There’s a sort of wistfulness that pervades Dumb Vision’s side of the album, but as is typical of well-written punk music, disatisfaction always lies barely hidden under the surface. Dumb Vision doesn’t have any music videos available, otherwise I would link to “The Fall” here, but I can stongly recomment their music to any fans of solid, dirty Midwestern punk rock.
It’s always a pleasure to find new bands here at WGTB, and I’m particularly glad to have found these two groups. Anyone who says punk is dead clearly isn’t paying attention to the work of DIY masters like Trash Knife or Dumb Vision, it’s small bands like these that sometimes pack the biggest punch. Buy their split EP here, or check out either band’s bandcamp for more great music.