When I was a younger man I definitely went through a very pronounced “dumb is good” phase with regard to punk-inspired music. The whole “KBD” thing was in full swing in the early 90s, and 70s/80s bands like The Mentally Ill, The Mad and The Authorities proved that having absurd lyrics and retardo riffs were no hindrance to creating transcendent punk rock art. So it was with current bands of the era as well. I loved simple, minimalist garage punk as long as it captured that Urinals/Desperate Bicycles sense of barely knowing how to play but still succeeding to bash out something brilliant anyway. So bands like The Motards, The Inhalants and even The Red Aunts (!) were on my cool radar at the time. A lot of it didn’t age too well – one could argue that I haven’t either – and I’ve been a lot of more skeptical of dumb-ass rock and roll for at least a decade or two of quote-unquote adulthood ever since.
Until FERAL BEAT, that is. Feral Beat are an active two-person guitar/drum, boy/girl act from Memphis. The fella is from a punk band called The Useless Eaters, which is a great name for those of you who’ve studied your Bloodlands history and such, but not a band I can say has moved me to date. When I first heard their new 45, “Canned Heat/Cold Lover”, I thought it was maybe the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a coon’s age. Like something a 24-year-old would like! Then I listened to it again. And again. And then that feeling showed up again, that one in which you know that the band you’re listening to has moved beyond lyrical ineptitude and musical ineptitude and into an otherworldly, godlike level of calculated primitive, raw and savage ineptitude that’s somehow absolute genius. They made me into a philistine again, one who loves dumb riffs, faggy vocals, awful lyrics and the like. And all was then good. And one of my favorite records in the world right now was so enshrined. And now I tell everyone who asks me what’s good, I say, I tell ‘em, "Feral Beat is what’s good". And now you shall know as well.