Pitchman My Angel Age EP

I bet you had a band in high school. I didn’t. I just abused an electric guitar while the four-track was rolling, discovering a love of noise coupled with happy accidents. But what if you had three friends that were cool and inspiring and intent on making a mark beyond the confines of your educational prison? Even then, you probably wouldn’t have slayed as hard as this group of Washington, DC teenragers did for one brief year in the early ’90s. Inspired by previous generations of DC punk, PITCHMAN clawed their way into the good graces of the egalitarian local scene and ended up playing with a cavalcade of older underground lifers like they were born to it. Now, thirty years later, you can hear what “the sound of young America” was all about. And it’s shockingly sophisticated! These kids weren’t banging out cheesy moshcore or four-on-the-floor cliches, they were learning in real time how to balance order and chaos, how to build up tension and hold fast until the release comes like a cleansing wave. No doubt inspired by producer Chris Thomson’s CIRCUS LUPUS, PITCHMAN unleashed ferocious punk that could be pigeonholed by a peabrain as “post-hardcore,” except there’s far too much arch adolescent sneering on display for such a humorless descriptor. The bruising “Standoff on the Top Stair” should be the fight song for every Final Girl, as Drée Thibert’s defiant pose is by turns inviting and threatening. Is it actually a song about being grounded? If only we could all transform our mundane experiences into such thrilling shapes. “Dead Girls” is a whirlwind of sardonic fury culminating in something like a manifesto—“It’s a natural disaster / Bite the adolescent fever.” “Route Thirteen” is a poison pen letter addressed to a partner-in-crime who has disappointed Thibert to such a degree that she is going to “meet you at the corner / and take you out with a punch,” ultimately concluding that “You’re just a crash landing.” What do the kids say now? I feel seen.