Soup Activists


Soup Activists Live at Sharon’s cassette

This comes from the mind of Martin Meyer, most notably of LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS and Lumpy Records, who brought us eggy tracks on records like Huff My Sack and Music to Hump a Trashcan To. SOUP ACTIVISTS turn down the distortion and chaos some, and provide a sweeping, shambolic sound: synths playing merry-go-round tunes, chug-a-lug guitars, and steady, mid-tempo drums. I get the brattiness of DEAD MILKMEN in the vocals, mixed with the oddball lyricism of the FLESH EATERS, but the comparison already stands to the whole body of work Meyer has been involved in, his Discogs bio listing countless St. Louis projects—I’ve brushed by this music, but I’m excited to take a deeper dive. Live at Sharon’s comes out in front of a studio LP slated for release this fall, so be on the lookout. I’m wondering how this recorded-live-to-tape raw sound will translate to studio production, but I have faith they’ll keep the edge intact. Don’t pass this one by.

Soup Activists Riling Up the Neighbors cassette

Martin Meyer is arguably one of the primary architects responsible for our contemporary punk landscape. For better or worse, I don’t know that we end up with the chain/egg punk dichotomy without LUMPY AND THE DUMPERS and their gooey aesthetic, or his label Lumpy Records and their “Feelin’ Eggy?” promo emails (not to mention Lumpy put out records by most of the bands originally labeled “egg-punk”). That aside, I’m also just a huge fan of the dude’s work. So, it came as quite a shock to just learn that he’s been making music under the SOUP ACTIVISTS name for the past two years, and this eleven-song cassette is his second release. Now, I go in blind when it comes to projects I’m unfamiliar with, so I had no idea who this was on my first listen. But my initial reaction was “Why did MRR give me this? It sounds like…SICKO or some shit!” To be fair, I think I was primarily picking up on the earnestness of the music—as I sat with it longer, I could tell there was actually a lot more going on. Still my primary point of comparison, at least on those first few tracks, would be something like the ramshackle pop punk of early FIFTEEN. Later tracks maybe feature more of the lo-fi jangle/strained tunefulness you’d find in an Eric Gaffney-sung SEBADOH track or some polish-free pop akin to, say, a DOLLY MIXTURE. Now that I know who’s behind the music, I can’t not hear that this is a Marty joint. But it would be hard to overstate how blown away I was to find that out. I’m still not sure that I really love the music here, but I have certainly loved the time I’ve spent so far trying to figure that out.