There are a few artists that I’ve reviewed here, and I’ve mentioned this before, that just kind of fall off my radar after their record of the moment is out and available. Not for lack of liking but more the abundance of new music coming in on the daily. But then I get a ping as something new from the artist is about to drop and get to give myself a refresher and dive back into their old stuff for research, nostalgia, and the inevitable comparison or two.
Today’s forgotten gem is Pittsburgh’s T-Tops who return with Staring at a Static Screen which, and if we wanna get some comparisons out of the way, is a loud and unrelenting noise Rawk opus that brings to mind East Coast classics from Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop, and Girls Against Boys mixed with modern marvels like Child Bite and Ghastly Sound. Add a little Jello Biafro swagger in there and that’s opener “Burn The River” in a nutshell and the all around aesthetic of the new album.
And then it all gets even better.
The title track is beastly with Patrick Waters’ vocal barbs biting just as hard as his riffs as Mike Koch belts out some solid slams behind the kit. “Palomino” is like Rockabilly meets Grunge and has some of the nastiest, most raw riffs since the super early dawn of the Seattle movement (Think late ’80’s underground in particular). Until “My Headache” comes in, that is, and from there it’s like the gnarliest riff extravaganza as Koch and bassist Matt Schor provide a particularly punchy rhythmic bounce running parallel to Waters’ aforementioned bite.
“All Black Crown” is an interesting little ditty that’s filled with some of the most intricate interplay between the guitar, bass, and drums with Waters’ voice growling over all and then “My Side of the Line” brings it back to a more tempered Rawk feel. “Feathers” is unhinged mania, “Drugstore” is a steady rager, and “Savvy Man” is a solid stomp that opens up into a huge chorus. But we ain’t done yet! “Face of Depression” arrives next and is a squealing soliloquy serving as the perfect penultimate track before “WMYTYTO” (Originally by Fleetwood Mac) rattles and hums its’ way to a glorious finish with Koch, Schor, and Waters all upping the T-Tops sonic ante to the next level.
Staring at a Static Screen arrives on May 28th through Magnetic Eye Records. Pre-orders are up now to be perused and/or purchased when you click here or here. For the latest on T-Tops, follow them across their socials by heading here, here, or here.