Lithics, “Mating Surfaces”I’ve kept my eye on Olympia, Washington, and Portland, Oregon-based record label Kill Rock Stars since my early affinity for lesser-known punk and outsider-whatever as teen in the mid-to-late ’90s. At the time, there was little unifying the disparate sounds I heard, other than their local geography and aesthetic. I was enamored with that part of the country, and the music being made there. Truth be told, I still sort of am. As with many of the labels I trusted at the time, I didn’t love everything, but the vast majority stuck with me, and I grew to appreciate the varying styles as my tastes and palette became more experienced. Certainly not refined.
Lithics are a band out of Portland that immediately appealed to my senses and sensibilities. I would have been just as into this band then as I am now. Certain sounds and approaches maintain over time. Their brand of wiry, jagged art punk would feel new and refreshing in any of the last four decades. Lead vocals and half the guitar duty come courtesy of Aubrey Hornor, and are equal parts jittery, convulsive twitch, and deadpan wry sarcasm. The propulsive rhythm section and start-stop guitars beg for movement, and I’d bet whatever is in my right pocket that their shows are sweaty dance-offs, with angular pogo-ing aplenty. For those who just so happen to be in Portland this Saturday night, you can catch the tour kick-off and album release at The Spare Room. Tour dates continue through June, with more than a handful of dates opening for fellow Oregonians Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, who released a brand new record just last Friday.
“Mating Surfaces” is available Friday, May 25, via Kill Rock Stars Records on compact disc, cassette tape, and on standard black vinyl LP. The cassette and vinyl, as is more than often customary in 2018, also comes with a digital download of the full record in your choice various high-quality formats.
Recommended for fans of The Bush Tetras, X, Gang of Four, ESG, The Slits, and more contemporary art/punks such as Shopping, Erase Errata, Deerhoof, and even moments of my 2017 record/band of the year Downtown Boys. High, high quality stuff here.
Jon E. Lynch[email protected]