Music by VICE

Fall In Love or Scratch Your Head to Urochromes

Fronted by a guy in a turtleneck, this Western Massachusetts duo are one of the more interesting bands currently operating.

by Tim Scott
Jan 14 2017, 4:09pm

Since forming in Western Massachusetts in 2015, Jackie 'Jackiboy' McDermott and Dick Riddick have been smashing out bizarro drum-machine punk and odd videos under the name Urochromes.

Led by turtlenecked vocalist McDermott, who also performs in noisey/no wave act The Sediment Club and solo as Mark Cone, the two have earned a reputation as one of the oddest and more interesting punk bands operating in the US.

The story goes that McDermott's initial concept was that of a Jewish New Yorker stand-up comedian who's found himself fronting a punk outfit. There's certainly some humour in the music. There's definitely a lot of punk.

Though Jackiboy has moved to Los Angeles, the band continues to blaze with the Night Bully EP on Wharf Cat records. It's an EP that goes hard. The A-side contains three bonkers punk songs including "My Dickies" where Riddick goes ham on guitar, while the B-Side "Night Bully" hunkers down into a more industrial punk arrangement and sound that has been likened to to Chrome. It also includes a remix by electronic gloom masters Boy Harsher.

Read a chat we we had with your man Jackiboy and check the video for "My Dickies" which includes aviation and Riddick scaring some ponies with his shredding.

Noisey: Why the move to LA? What's the best thing about living there?
Jackie McDermott: Because I like paying rent and scraping aioli off Katy Perry's dishes. I came down with some seasonal depression when I got here which has been tough for me because there's only one season. Best thing about it is the weather and lots of nice people patient enough for me to practice my spanglish with.

Western Massachusetts punk has had this mythical feeling of college kid in the woods, wearing flannel shirts and getting weird. Bands like early Dinosaur Jr and Deep Wound to Feeding Tube records. It all seems cool. What's the best thing about living and creating music in Western Mass?
I fucking love Western Mass. I love my friends and I love the music there. There is a lot of whitewashed college vibe with people moving in and out which is basically what I did but then there's a core group of people working tirelessly and thanklessly to make cool stuff and make cool stuff happen. Shout out to Dark World, Burnt Envelope and Dooley. It's the best the northeast has to offer. I'm going to move back.

The cover for the anthology that came out on Feeding Tube features a pair of handcuffs and a Greenfield police badge. What is your relationship with the Greenfield police department?
It's been pretty low key since Greenfield police seem to mostly be busy being up to their eyeballs in heroin. Once a cop came to break up a show in Hadley and asked me if I liked 'rock'. Before I could answer he lifted up his uniform and showed me a twisted Insane Clown Posse chest piece. The image on the cover of the record is from a short-lived campaign from a few years ago where the Greenfield police tried to spread breast cancer awareness by using pink handcuffs.

Did you play a show with your dad?
Yeah! It was our first time playing New York and we were using the drum machine and my dad came on and played the last song. It was without a doubt one of my proudest moments and a good justification for devoting this much of my life to this kind of music. My dads a great drummer and has always been a huge influence musically for me. Denny McDermott. Check him out.

The sound and sentiment of "I'm Gonna Confront Ya" is strong.
It's about beef! It's about a few pretty boy motherfuckers with nice toned bodies and strong jawlines who buy shiny spiky bracelets and get on stage and play sad/mad boy for 15 minutes. I don't wanna get yelled at by a fucking male model. And then after their show I smile at them cause they're hot shit and they smile back and meanwhile they have one hand in my wallet and the other sliding down my life partner's back. I hate them. You know who you are.

I'm loving the Boy Harsher mix of "Night Bully". How did Jae and Gus get involved?
I met them at a show in Savannah where they were living about five years ago and then we got in touch when they moved to Western Mass. They're incredibly talented and are doing what they're doing better than anyone else right now. Dick and I really wanted to have a song on this record that could come on at 'the club.' If everyone is gonna pay to go to a studio and then try to make it sound like it was recorded on a four-track in a trash can I'd rather make something with big bass and drops and someone who can really sing.

'Night Bully' is available Jan 27 on Wharf Cat records.