The Freakees


The Freakees Freakee Deakee EP

The FREAKEES have been kicking around the Los Angeles punk scene for the past five or so years, and in that time they’ve put out a bunch of stuff. So, it’s a bit surprising to learn that this is their first solo vinyl outing. Everything else has been a feature on split, a cassette, or a digital-only release. Well, they’re starting off with a 7″ to be proud of! They’ve toned down the vocals a bit from earlier material. They’re still wild, but they’ve been pushed closer to the front and are no longer drowned in reverb. It’s a welcome change. The A-side features three quick tracks of bratty, hardcore-influenced garage punk.They have some of the trappings of egg-punk, particularly the warbly effects on the guitar, but they give off more of a REATARDS vibe than you’d get from your typical DEVO-core band. It’s solid stuff. But let’s talk about this B-side—holy moly is it good!  “Freakee Friday” slows things down to a snail’s pace and allows the band to really wallow around in the muck. While the rhythm section lumbers along and the vocalist emits pure negativity (who even cares what he’s saying), both guitarists just kind of do their own thing—one plays sustained, feedback-y notes and the other alternates between noodly licks and half-assed rhythm guitar. It sounds like In My Head BLACK FLAG at half speed, but, like, way dumber—a fantastic little downer punk dirge to rival BLACK PANTIES or LIFE STINKS.

The Freakees / Research Reactor Corp. split EP

Goodbye Boozy seems to be cranking out these split 7″s lately. While I’m not generally a fan of the format, I think they could have done worse with this pairing. The A-side is two quick tracks from Sydney-based torch bearers of the NWI sound, RESEARCH REACTOR CORPORATION. And they are just excellent. RCC takes the CONEHEADS’ herky-jerk formula, adds some cartoonishness and menace, and leans a little more into that warbly direct-to-VHS-sounding production. I love it. The FREAKEES, out of L.A., give us two tracks of blown-out, bass-heavy garage punk that skews a bit more punk than garage. It reminds me of the band SCRAPER. Though, instead of deadpan, talk-shout vocals, you get an ear-splitting screech that’s reverbed to hell. I think these are pretty great tracks, but I found the vocals a tad much at times. But FREAKEES gotta freak, I guess!

The Freakees / Launcher split 7″

LAUNCHER plays manic punk that sounds more solidified, tighter, and crazier than their demo from last year, which was already good. They have hooks and melody, but also a wonky weirdness in the guitar that is part Greg Ginn and part just maniac energy. Total fucking bounce-off-the-walls punk. FREAKEES is more straightforward, with deranged, reverb-y vocals that are on the edge of a nervous breakdown at all times. They have an intense energy and rawness that I feel is lacking in much straightforward punk, and this is excellent to my ears.