By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
On their second full-length and first for the North Texas punk-adoring, Portland-based Dirtnap Records, the three-piece behind Denton's Bad Sports moniker once again prove themselves as garage, power pop and punk rock purveyors clearly born three decades too late. And, dammit, now they're angry about it.
Whereas the band's self-titled 2009 debut for Douchemaster Records was brash, this second effort, brazenly entitled Kings of the Weekend, feels even more aggressive. Produced by Mark Ryan of Mind Spiders and The Marked Men, the disc claws and barks like a guard dog. Whether its speedy three-chord offerings scare you off or draw you nearer isn't the point; the point is that they grab your attention.
Sure enough, the things that grab the band's attention have changed slightly this time around, as former topics of boredom and girls being annoying have been replaced by more specific foils, like the City of Denton being boring ("Days of Denton") and girls being annoying but also kind of cute ("Teenage Girls"). And there's more focus, too — especially on the hooks, which on an album that features seven tracks under two minutes and just one over three, are angsty, relatable and unrelenting. The album's a rallying cry for Denton punk in many ways, despite the fact that guitarist Orville Neely bounced for Austin over a year ago.
Bassist Daniel Fried and drummer Greg Rutherford remain, but it's tough to say for how long: "What's the point of trying when you're dying in the days of Denton?," Fried sings on "Days of Denton," one of the many tracks in which he's given a deserved bigger spotlight. The album convincingly offers up 13 other cuts that answer that question by highlighting Denton's bleeding punk rock heart. Here's hoping the band's not too close to their own monitors to hear that enticing beat.