Monday, May 24, 2010

Feelin' Cheap and Deadly with The Biters

Hey all. It's been a crazy week: my brother's birthday, a graduation party for some close friends, band practice, and other assorted stuff that would just bore you. Negotiations are moving ahead with Platform One: we're still trying to figure out the best way to help each other, but I'm sure whatever arrangement we come to, it'll be good for everyone.
Anyway, like I say every week, enough of this stuff that you guys don't really come here for: let's get on to it and let me unveil my new, awesome discovery. Today that unveiling is in honor of The Biters, a garage-rock foursome right out of here in Atlanta. I first came across these guys a couple months ago when they were featured on Comcast's Bands on Demand for local bands right here in the ATL. I thought they were great then, but as with so much music, it took a few weeks for them to really sink in, and I dare say now they have. In fact, I've been listening to these guys all week long, and with melodies and sing-along lyrics like the ones that populate all their songs, these guys are most certainly poised for an underground takeover the likes of which we haven't seen the garage-rock explosion of the early 2000's with bands like The Strokes, The White Stripes and JET. 
Composed in brilliant simplicity of Tuk (lead vocals and guitar), Matt Gabs (guitar and vocals), Travis (bass and vocals), and Joey (drums and percussion), The Biters deliver a blistering punch through the speakers that I haven't felt since the first time I listened to "Ride" and "Get Free" by The Vines. These guys know their instruments back and forth, up and down, and all the freakin' way around: there's no filler track anywhere on their playlist, and every song you hear, you walk away air-guitaring to until your arms are sore.
Case in point: "Hang Around." A classic garage-punk track that just drills through my ears, tearing up every concept I had of garage-rock along the way, "Hang Around" is clearly the choice lead-off single for The Biters' self-titled debut EP, and that's a choice I whole-heartedly support. Tuk's and Gabs' guitar licks are brilliant Vines' style: serrated, melodic, and hardcore until the end. The ear-splitting solo that's followed by a head-banging bridge only serves to further the "hard-rock" grit of this song. Travis's bass, meanwhile, hits me in the stomach again and again, knocking whatever air was left in my lungs out without a break. I like a bass-line that will absolutely destroy and break my bones, and with it tied to a gut-busting set of drum fills by Joey, "Hang Around" boasts all the choice aspects of a song that could easily stay on the charts for a year, if not more. What pushes it over the top, though? Tuk's vocals, backed by Gabs' and Travis's, scream Vines and White Stripes influence, peppered with The Strokes and JET. I fucking love it, and at a crisp, clear 3:00 long, "Hang Around" is the "no frickin' duh" record label choice for any promotional use. "Hang Around" is simply an incredible song that's a complete experience in and of itself. 
Track two is "So Cheap, So Deadly," and with a title like that I'm already stoked to hear what the actual music can deliver. I'm not disappointed at all: reveling in a driving bass-line augmented by classic rock drums and a rhythm taken right of the '60's rock handbook, "So Cheap, So Deadly" sounds as crisp as "You Really Got Me" did when I first heard it years ago. With a vocal style and guitar licks that throwback to the Davies brothers and classic greats like The Kinks and The Who, The Biters hit gold again with this track. The guitar is brain-splitting, and pierces to crucify any sort of misgiving I might have had about good old garage-rock being dead and buried: it's not even close, and with groups like The Biters carrying the torch, it won't be any time soon. There's nothing left to say about this track other than it's simple audio bliss, and to listen to it would be to get your recommended daily dose of rock. A brilliant accomplishment and a seamless triumph: love it.
The last song I'll let myself reveal here (because let's face it, there's no way I can even hope to do these guys justice with just the words I have here, but I'll try) is "Dreamer." At first, as the waves of sound bleed out and into my room, I'm at a loss for what to write: there are no words for this one, but I'll do my best. This feels like what my dad tells me the summer of '68 felt like, everything I could possibly imagine: a melodic, sing-along chorus with lyrics that float you away and a message that makes you happy to live and even happier to rock. Tuk's vocals are raw and meaningful, and his guitar dances fantastically with Gabs' to produce a technicolor vision of rock. Travis's bass lies just on top of Joey's kicking drums to push me full-throttle into oblivion, and when Tuk and Gabs get to the guitar solo, I'm reminded of the way I felt when I heard The Beatles and Cream for the first time: pure audio utopia, and one I never want to stop.
It should seem a superfluous statement by now to say that these guys are amazing: that doesn't even begin to cover it. Bridging the small expanse between The Kinks and The Who, and The Vines and JET, The Biters are fanning the flames of the garage-rock revolution again. It isn't going to be long before these guys get their due, and when they do, their impact will be the same as when The Strokes and The White Stripes burst onto the scene. If you like anything classic rock, or anything garage-punk, it's like this group was custom tailored for you, and I don't see any way you could possibly be disappointed. The Biters' stuff makes me a dreamer again, and reminds me why I fell in love with rock in the first place, and if you ask me, that's the best thing a band could ever hope to do. Absolutely freakin' amazing. 

Sounds Like: The Kinks, JET, The Strokes, The Vines, The Who

Key Tracks from The Biters: "Hang Around," "Dreamer," "So Cheap, So Deadly"

Check out The Biters more at: and  

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