The Wirms


The Wirms III LP

First notes in, you can tell there’s something special about this record. Memphis garage punk still hits the hardest, and this band fits right into that lineage. With blown-out vocal delivery and nasty licks that slither in and out like the snakes in a traditional skull tattoo, there’s no bullshit on display here—just real-deal, manic hot-dialed rock’n’roll. The cover of jazz standard “Lover Man” (originally popularized by BILLIE HOLIDAY) is a standout, if only to hear such a beautiful song turn so ugly. The whole album slams with that exhilarating unhinged quality of a band that is tight as hell but can convincingly sound like they’re on the brink of self-destruction, reminiscent at times of MEAT PUPPETS’ first (and my favorite) record, which feels like some sort of country drug mania from hell. But the tunes stay strong, never fully falling apart and just hitting the mark cut after cut. If you like your meat bloody, don’t skip this one.

The Wirms Live at the Lamplighter Lounge cassette

Not too fast, not too loud punk rawk in what sounds like a very crappy bar (not a complaint). The singer gives us a raspy yowl and a Jello warble while playing US ’76–79-style riffs with most of the flair scooped out. Much like cover song records, I just don’t think live albums are necessary. This one does not capture the qualities which make the band’s demo and other releases a lot of fun.