March 3, 2015

EP: Daddy Issues - Double Loser

North Carolina's Daddy Issues flaunts sun-kissed garage rock with Double Loser.

There have been a lot of great bands coming from the North Carolina area recently; each with a certain, yet not easily describable, dash of Southern √©lan without really having any affiliation with either Country music or Southern rock. I’m probably biased because my label, That Summer Feeling, recently put on a show that they played, but Daddy Issues is easily my favorite to come from the NC area. On their new four-song cassette, Double Loser, released by Negative Fun Records and Egg Hunt Records, the music of Daddy Issues exists somewhere entrenched between the sun-kissed twang of Southern garage and the Metropolitan strut of Northern Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The arrangements are sparse and stripped back to the basic skeleton garage was meant to be, but because of this they have the luxury of not being tied down by unnecessary adornments. And it’s with this luxury that Daddy Issues can be so blissfully raw and punk and the next moment create something overwhelmingly beautiful that hits you emotionally in an unexpected way. They’re equally capable of delivering primordially raucous sucker punches like “So Hard,” as they are of tender, crushing blows like “Lethal Dose.” The starkness of the latter makes the almost whispered intimacy of the vocals all the more heartrendingly poignant, and, what’s more, causes you to be wholly unprepared for the perfectly fitting guitar break that follows.

The aforementioned “So Hard” was succinctly and accurately described by the band in an interview: “It’s about boners.” But it does somewhat underestimate just how great of a song it is. It’s just a perfect slice of Rock ‘n’ Roll and a testament to how well the band exceeds at coming up with insanely catchy choruses. It’s the kind of chorus so catchy you might just catch yourself singing it out loud in public, on the bus, at your job, or worse of all – in front of your parents – only to realize what exactly it is you are singing out loud. But it’s just so good you might not even care and continue to sing it anyway.

Unlike Bad Canoes’ “D’arcy’s Boots” and other punk odes to 90’s Mallrat culture, “Let’s Go To The Mall” seems at first to be more of a pensive, nostalgic look back at teenage life, and even when it picks up with the chorus and the yell of “Fuck you! We don’t care!” it’s not without the lingering sensation of a yearning for something impossible to ever attain again. “Sex on the Beach” is the most surf-y song on the tape, replete with chilling reverb-washed backing vocals like a far off Siren’s wail, and the story of a midnight love affair with a seaweed-festooned monster from the deep blue like the ones found in 60’s beach party horror movies such as The Beach Girls and the Monster.

If you haven’t heard Daddy Issues before, listening to Double Loser will be like finding a nondescript 45 record from the depths of a dusty antique store. You buy it on a nagging hunch just because the names of the band and the songs sound interesting enough, and when you get home it turns out to be the most mind-blowing garage record you’ve ever heard. Double Loser is such a fun and immersive EP, the only flaw you’ll ever find is that you’ll just want more.

Listen to Double Losers on bandcamp.

Cody Alexander, a writer from New Jersey. He runs his label That Summer Feeling, with plans for an upcoming tribute to Jonathan Richman. He can also be found on Instagram and Twitter.