It's hard to be
objective when this band seems to have cut its sound directly from my personal pattern for
what I want in alt/rock/math music. Yeah, I said math rock, although I'm not entirely sure
these guys would agree. Being a huge Chavez fan in all, I found the opening track of this
5-song EP -- Flake-out King -- to be right down my alley, so to
speak. In addition to having cool lyrics (The fewer actors, the better) it has a
powerhouse sound that alternates from a groovy bass-driven grind to a guitar line that
sounds like guitarist/singer Brett Ackerman would like to simply destroy his ax in some
sort of fucked-up feedback haze. Hey, these guys are from New York City, after all, so I
suppose the angrier you get, the better for everyone involved. Fast, heavy, distorted,
That's New York City -- as in Brooklyn -- and have been
playing at underground clubs for years. Bio says the band's name comes from South American
folklore -- chupacabra the vampire goat that kills cattle... (I guess that would make
them... Mooo-nsters?) The trio have separately been in a number of other bands, who have
opened for the likes of Fugazi, The Melvins, Arcwelder, Jesus Lizard, Bob Mould, etc. They
say they're influenced by oldsters Mission of Burma, Wire (these days, who wasn't?) and
Girls vs. Boys.
Second track, Paradise, is more
mainstream-heavy-metal than the opener, complete with slightly distorted vocals. Ackerman
has a good, though undistinctive, voice. What Am I kinda reminds me of something
off Smashing Pumpkin's Gish CD, I don't know why, and I don't think that's
necessarily a bad thing (have you heard Gish?). Ricochet almost sounds
like a continuation of the last track, until the band gets into the main stuff, when they
begin to sound a lot like Husker Du meets latter-day Superchunk, with a touch of that
awesome Chavez-style guitar thrown in. I like this one. Final track, Constant Waiting,
opens like a post-punk monster. The guitars are viscous, as is Phil Hampton's solid drums.
The lyric matches the angst: "God be with me/He's not with you." Ouch!
While the Midwest continues to bury itself in ska and
shitty neu-big band swing, and the West Coast suffers under pseudo-whiteboy hip hop glop,
the East Coast continues the post-punk tradition of being mad at everyone, which I like.
Gotta wonder, though, if there isn't a couple dozen bands playing this sort of sound
throughout Manhattan, waiting for someone from Matador to drop by one of their shows. I
have to guess that Captive Records is owned by the band, and that, like all good
demo-releasers, they're looking for a label. The competition must be tough as shit out
there, because Chupa Cabra would blow away most of the stuff going on throughout the rest
of the country.
Contact info: Captive Records, 117 No. 5th St., No.
3 RH, Brooklyn, NY 11211
(back to the Hype)
Copyright © 1999 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.