The Ar-Kaics


The Ar-Kaics See the World on Fire LP

Well, if the first track is any indication, this certainly has a feel to it. It plods along, very deliberately, slowly, and darkly, almost conveying a sense of helplessness. Jesus, look at some of these song titles: “Chains” (the opener), “Land of the Blind,” “Outsider.” All of the cuts mostly have that measured pace, but they’re also mostly not as harrowing as that first cut, although they are dark and brooding. Think of LOU REED getting really dark if he got stuck in a garage. Then add more twang. I kind of like it, just in case that wasn’t clear.

The Ar-Kaics Live in the Shit LP

This is a live recording captured from a February 2020 show in their hometown of Richmond, VA, right before live music shut down. The frantic intensity of the performance comes out and smacks you with a quick pace as each song rushes in right after the next in a perfect garage punk cadence. It’s a tight, quick set and all the slightly off notes and tuning only add to the authentic energy of it. There’s a good mix of old and newer songs with an excellent unreleased new track, “Outsider.” An excellent addition to their growing catalogue.

The Ar-Kaics Ar-Kives, Volume One: Singles & Unreleased LP

This is a collection of singles from this Virginia band who’ve been morphing their own take on ’60s-style lo-fi garage for years. You can sense the influence of the lineage, but the music has its own unique sound, without duplicity. Tunes range from defiant anthems (“Can’t Stand This Place”) to sludgy stomps (“Cut Me Down”). The band had COVID cancel US, European, and Japanese tours, but were able to release these early out-of-print singles dating back to 2013 and some demos instead. It’s a great place to start if you’ve never heard their other releases. Not just for fans of the Back From the Grave scene, but for anyone who digs fuzzy, snotty songs with a little attitude. European release by Bachelor. In the US, it’s on Dig! Records from Virginia, which has been putting out vinyl for five years but this release was given the 001 catalog number—apparently that’s been on the back burner waiting for a pandemic.