flat dulcet tones of Jackie Evancho aren't doing it for you today, allow us to suggest LA project Thurst's ramshackle debut, Cut to the Chafe, to soundtrack this, uh, historic inauguration day.
The group, made up of siblings Kory and Jessie Seal (vocals/guitar and drums/vocals) and bassist Mark C, serves up bare-bones, jangly punk girded by Kory's spit-addled, cracked up vocals. The record follows in the art school-steeped tradition of 70s LA punk acts like X and early Black Flag, with a nod to the post-punk snark and gumption of Modern Lovers and Violent Femmes. The result, however, is an album that feels like it only could have been made amidst our particular strange times.
Songs on Cut to the Chafe are wildly reflexive, sliding between characters and points of views on a turn and delving into stream of consciousness musings that conclude with more questions than answers. It's an often-funny, consistently searing study of complacency that feels refreshingly honest rather than idealistic, kissing off everything from hip kid faux-rebellion to anti-government hostility to existential dread.
Speaking of which, the band has chosen to self-release the record today as a send-off to one Donald J. Trump, with all proceeds from streaming and downloads on Bandcamp going to Planned Parenthood through the end of February.
"For a man who so perfectly epitomizes everything we've ever fought against and will always fight against, not only as artists but more importantly as people, the least we can do is exercise our right to the first amendment on the first day when a lot more than rights are at stake," the band says. Get to know Thurst more below and listen to the debut of Cut to the Chafe now.
Noisey: How long have you been playing music together? How did the project come together?
Kory Seal: Having known each other for literally our entire lives I don't think either one of us ever really anticipated playing music together. In 2013 I moved back to L.A. to find out my sister had started playing drums.
Jessie Seal: We started out trying to bring back nu metal but it's a lot harder than it seems, but don't be surprised if our next album is in drop b and we've found a way to misspell our band name even more.
What was the process of writing and recording the album like? Were there any thematic/stylistic vibes you had in mind, or did it just kind of evolve as it went along?
Kory: We recorded the album in Topanga at our buddy Derek Mabra's Honeyland studios, he's a shoegazing badass so being a punk band walking into a shoegazers closet full of shimmering long dress guitar pedals and half stacks was a lot of fun and had a huge influence on the overall sound of the album. We recorded it in two days cause we initially thought we were going to record two songs (whoops). We love you Derek!
Jessie, you live off the grid in a van. You don't see many Angelenos doing that. Tell me about your experience living in LA and how that's shaped the band.
Jessie: About two years ago I came to the realization that I was living to work, & not because I was a workaholic or because I was scrambling for my next material possession, but because I had to. LA is a difficult city to survive in, and not many Angelenos have the ability to put time into what they really love. I was not okay with this reality, or the reality that we are on our way to destroying the one thing that gives us life. With that, I made the decision to move to Topanga Canyon and start over. Thurst has been a huge inspiration for me, and the perfect outlet to practice what I preach.
How do you see the record release fitting in with inauguration day?
Korey: It may not fit, I have no clue what's going to be a reality going forward and that's really scary for most of us. If our music can help in any way and possibly motivate people, we want it out there in a time such as this.
Jessie: We never intended to make music for profit, so it would only make sense for us to give what we receive to others.
Your songwriting has a lot going on. I can't image hearing it five, ten, 20 years ago. Tell me more about your approach with that, particularly the different and often conflicting perspectives it captures.
Korey: Living in a place like L.A while working dead end jobs and just trying to survive lends itself to a barrage of different people and experiences on a day to day basis. I think the album encompasses those influences from a distance while being at the center of them. It was a way of relieving anxiety that we feel and have felt for years, trying our best to relay ideas to others, not necessarily wanting them to agree or disagree but I guess to acknowledge "oh shit, that does exist".
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