Yucky Duster doesn't have a strong narrative. The Brooklyn band doesn't have a management team sculpting their brand, or a consistent message, or even an easy genre tag—they've been called "twee" and "surf" and "riot grrrl," but those labels don't quite fit, since the musical style varies wildly depending on which of the band's four songwriters penned the track.
The band's drummer and singer Madeline Babuka Black bristles when I try to get her to talk about the Yucky Duster story. "I don't know," she says, "we're just brats." She won't give me more than that.
Yucky Duster are just four friends who like to write songs together. Those songs happen to be some of the best coming out of Brooklyn right now, but the band probably wouldn't care much either way. Their latest EP, Duster's Lament, packs a lot of corkscrewing hooks into five songs (one by each of the band members and a title track written as a group). The EP's centerpiece, "The Ropes," sounds like something Polvo might have cranked out if they grew up listening to SMiLE, while other songs wander into Breeders territory. But there's no consistent, easily-marketable Yucky Duster thing that a PR guy could drool over, besides the fact that the band sounds like they're just having a lot of goddamn fun.
They may not make punk music, but Yucky Duster is a more punk band than the majority of the mediocre groups trying to fly that genre flag right now. They're not focused on marketing themselves or trying to reinvent pop music or whatever—they just dick around and make things they like. That's real punk, regardless of what Babuka Black says.
"We're not a punk band. We're not. When people write that, I'm embarrassed."
The band's latest EP, Duster's Lament, is out now on Infinity Cat. Watch a new music video for the song "Elementary School Dropout" below, exclusively on VICE.