Earlier this year, I wrote about Whittier, CA-based punk rock quartet Plague Vendor first two singles off their latest effort Bloodsweat: “Jezebel,” an anthemic yet tense, thrashing single that reminded me quite a bit of The Hives‘ “Walk Idiot, Walk” and “Hate To Say I Told You So” but with a danceable and furious stomp; and “No Bounty,” a shuffling, swaggering, whiskey, piss and vinegar fueled bluesy single full of braggadocio-filled verses and refrains that reminded me a little bit of The White Stripes and The Dead Weather but with sneering, strutting “fuck you and the high horse you rode in” air. Now, just to refresh your memory a bit — the quartet comprised of Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar), formed in 2009 and in a short period of time, developed reputation across Southern California for raucous and frenetic shows. As the live shows began stacking up, so did their material and those live shows led to the material that comprised their 2014 release, Free to Eat, an effort that has been described as a dark, terse and thrashing collection of punk songs.
Much like the material on Free to Eat, the material off their latest effort Blooddsweat is comprised of material that had been written, revised, road-tested, further revised and re-imagined before the members of the quarter went into the studio. Produced and engineered by Stuart Sikes, best known for his work with The Walkman, Cat Power and Modest Mouse, Sikes encouraged the band to embrace a minimalist production with each member aiming to capture each track, each note in as a few takes as humanly possible and with little to no overdubs. Ultimately, the intent was to have their recorded sound hew as closely as possible to their live sound. Interestingly, Bloodsweat thematically is inspired by the last couple of years of each bandmember’s life, and the dedication and sacrifices being a serious artist must make and how that’s influenced them as a band as people. And when you listen to tracks on the album, it’s evident that their sound has grown, it’s also evident that their sound is still subtly influenced by At the Drive-In, Liars, The Cramps and others.
The album’s first single “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)” is an anthemic and punchy bit of punk rock with a furiously insistent bass line and a forceful stomp — and it’s the sort of single you can practically picture concertgoers in a small, dark and sweaty room yelling aloud to with upraised beers.
The recently released video features footage of the band playing a live gig but set in wild, psychedelic negatives — that almost makes it seem like going to a Plague Vendor show would be a trippy experience.