#Bandcampgold-Bubblegum Graveyard by Apache Dropout
So I had no idea who Apache Dropout was until a few weeks ago; while scouring the internet for stuff to listen to I found a series that Paste Magazine had done years ago trying to find the best bands in each state, http://www.pastemagazine.com/tag/50_states_project.
By the time I got to Indiana I was already deep in new names I had to remember so if your band was going to grab me they needed to do it on the first song. Luckily the first song on Bubblegum Graveyard is a shimmering jewel of a song called Archie’s Army which is about the gang from the Archie comic becoming a zombie army. At two minutes it’s over before you feel like you can get enough, so I grabbed the album (name your own price on bandcamp) and have never turned back.
I found a Pitchfork review for this album and it got a 6.7 when it came out in 2012. I guess the reviewer’s problem was that for all its positive traits the goofy shoddily concocted horror stuff can be a bit much. I disagree. If you give yourself permission to just loosen up and enjoy the music you’ll be fine; this isn’t Radiohead-In Rainbows you are listening to.
I could argue with pitchfork all day. The fun in Bubblegum Graveyard is inarguable; the guitar riff on Quaaludes ’68 will leave you Beavis & Butthead dancing, the charging garage rock of Carryin’ Fleas typifies the best of the genre. Sonny Alexander is the lead singer and guitarist and you will have no doubt that he sounds like Bowie but that is the only thing Bowie about this set of music. Ghost Stories is the closest one of these songs sounds to a Bowie song but even then the lyrics are so off kilter they couldn’t be Bowie, as the guitar sounds a dun-dun-dun-dun stabbing horror sound Sonny belts out “The shrieking in the woods…cannot be good.” It definitely wears the Cramps in its influences but that’s not a bad place to come from. If Bubblegum Graveyard were trying to be pure horror than the pitchfork review would be right; it would have missed the mark.
Apache Dropout does an incredible job of connecting the kinetic energy of their old sounding newness to a loose conceptual base that won’t beat you over the head. If you don’t know what Lady Blood is about you can fade into the background “bah bah bah’s” and just thrash around in the general universe. The consistency of the music is fabulous and while I enjoy the off kilter result of horror subjects writ cheeky (example: Fried Stranger) it’s ten times more interesting with true craft underlying the whole operation.
The pitchfork review said Bubblegum Graveyard doesn’t measure up to the brilliance of their debut. You can download both from their bandcamp link. I love the debut self-titled album but it doesn’t measure up to how matchless and vital Bubblegum Graveyard is. As a result of the Paste Magazine research I heard heart rending soul from Kentucky, intelligent southern rock from Alabama and funk from New Hampshire but none of it felt like it would be a great musical future to live in. So that’s Bubblegum Graveyard.
Stream or download Bubblegum Graveyard below: