Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Whittier, CA-based post-punk/ punk rock quartet Plague Vendor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of f Brandon Blaine (vocals), Luke Perine (drums), Michael Perez (bass) and Jay Rogers (guitar) formed back in 2009, quickly developing a reputation locally and regionally for frenetic and raucous live sets. Eventually, they began playing an increasing number of live shows across California with those shows leading to 2014’s full-length debut Free to Eat, an album that some critics described as terse, dark and thrashing post-punk.
Bloodsweat, the JOVM mainstays’ 2016 Stuart Sikes-produced sophomore album landed at number 2 on that year’s Best of List, thanks in part to frenetic and anthemic album singles “ISUA (I Stay Up Anyway)“, “Jezebel” and “No Bounty,” which were delivered with a blistering and forceful swagger. Two years passed before the band released two singles “I Only Speak in Fiction,” and “Locomotive,” which were recorded with Epitaph Records’ head and Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz and Morgan Stratton, which served to revitalize the band and restore their focus before joining acclaimed producer John Congleton for the By Night sessions.
The band’s third full-length album, which is slated for a June 7, 2019 release through Epitaph Records finds the band stretching and warping their sound to evoke a merciless and unrelenting sense of tension and apprehension that should feel familiar in our current sociopolitical moment. “New Comedown,” the third album’s first single was an explosive roar, centered around a propulsive rhythm section, thunderous drumming, layers upon layers of power chords, a mosh pit friendly hook and Blaine’s howled vocals — and while bearing a resemblance to the singles recorded with Gurewitz and Stratton, the song reveals some of the most confident and self-assured songwriting and playing of their growing catalog.
Sonically, the album finds the band meshing the powerful but polished sound of contemporary rock with the countless reinterpretations of classic punk and post punk — while being encouraged by Congleton to push their sound and approach in new directions: in fact, the band employs the use of chorused band in endless waves, lighting strike flashes of synth, motor man-machine drums and even a string section.
Interestingly, By Night‘s second and latest single “All of the Above” is a shimmering yet brooding and tense bit of post-punk centered around motorik-like drumming, buzzsaw-like guitars and a shout-along-worthy hook — and while bearing an uncanny resemblance of The Cars, the futuristic, sci-fi punk song captures a narrator, who has partied and fucked around to the point of losing what’s left of the sanity.