Hank Wood and the Hammerheads


Hank Wood and the Hammerheads You Could Have It / I’d Rather Be With Me 7″

Vinyl reissue of their limited 2019 tour cassingle (which, if you’re keeping score, was issued thrice for a total edition of 560 copies). And it’s quite the upgrade! Despite the waning popularity of the 7”, I gotta imagine this would still be the preferred format over a two-song tape. Plus, this art looks great blown up, and you’re getting a hilariously unnecessary lyric sheet! This initially came out between 2018’s self-titled LP and 2020’s Use Me EP, and it definitely sounds like it. HANK’s still rapping, but he’s getting further away from the early ’70s JAMES BROWN-aping of that LP and closer to that Anthony Kiedis patter you got on the EP. “You Could Have It,” with its motorik, loud/quiet groove and searing but tuneful guitars, sounds like a more profane and anti-social EDDY CURRENT SUPPRESSION RING. It’s great! “I’d Rather Be With Me” sounds like it could have plucked off their 2018 LP, except it’s got this odd, atmospheric, almost indie rock guitar running through it. It reminds me a little of MODEST MOUSE’s “Float On”…which I don’t think I mean as a negative. In any case, HANK WOOD AND THE HAMMERHEADS are one of the most important acts of the past decade, and this release is accordingly essential.

Hank Wood and the Hammerheads Use Me EP

Get the impression that my take on HANK WOOD AND THE HAMMERHEADS’ discography to date—improving on each release and peaking with their self-titled third LP from 2018—is widely considered uncool, verboten, wrong even. A great pity if so, as this is the stance that allows the easiest enjoyment of Use Me, a four-song EP which carries on down that testifyin’ soul-punk road and adds a little extra spit and polish as it goes. Opening track “Look at You” is one of those textbook Hank Wood vocal shakedowns, where he dresses down some unidentified foe into the dirt but does it with a peculiar affection. “Strangers” is tearjerker doo-wop it’s permissible to stagedive to, “Tomorrow” the chant of the eternal bozo optimist (“Tomorrow’s gonna turn my love around!”) with some unlikely post-punky reverb, and the closing title track pushes some equally unlikely ’90s alt buttons via sugary female backing vox.