With the release of Content That Makes You Feel Good, Chicago quartet Stuck wants to remind you of everything dismal, and they want to get you riled up about it. Following their exceptional full length debut, Change Is Bad (Born Yesterday Records), the band continued writing songs that dig into the social unrest of recent years. While their debut focused on an abstract account of personal grief and mental collapse, Stuck’s latest finds them looking forward as they take aim at our cultural flaws and systemic problems throughout a brilliant new EP, due out August 13th via Exploding In Sound Records. Content That Makes You Feel Good is very much a tongue-in-cheek title, as they lament the pitfalls that plague so much of our country, but there is an optimism to pull from it. As the US creeps back toward the old normal (which didn't work for most), this EP is a call to stay focused on all the inequities and injustices brought to the core of the public consciousness over the last year.
Stuck (comprised of Greg Obis, Tim Green, David Algrim, and Donny Walsh) create music to bring tension to the forefront, pushing knotted post-punk to it’s breaking point, both lyrically and sonically. The band are not content to simply create awareness, they want to actualize and make a difference, change that starts with their own collective actions. It’s a kick in the teeth of complacency. While post-punk revival bands have become a dime-a-dozen commodity in recent years, Stuck keep one foot in and one foot out, drawing their own noise rock influences into the mix, creating something heavier and more feral. The band’s sound is tight, jagged, and discordant, but there’s a great deal of aggression in their approach. They manifest tension into muscular riffs and colossal rhythms, skirting between the deranged and abrasive, with sonically compelling structures and focused songwriting. The biting and often sardonic lyrics work together with the tightly wound music, a symbiosis in antagonistic spirit.
Content That Makes You Feel Good moves Stuck’s post-punk and noise rock tendencies closer to the glory days of 80’s punk and hardcore (Dead Kennedy’s, Elvis Costello, The Minutemen) not so much in sound but with direct and underlying messages at its core. This is punk rock that is very much the part of a community, and the band carry that weight throughout each track. As Obis explains it, “they’re all songs to get your blood moving about the ways our society is built to oppress the working class, be it internalizing the hustle mindset in ways that affect your non-working life (Labor Leisure), the violent and murderous police that protect property over people (City of Police), or the erosion of workers rights and neo-feudalism (Serf the Web).” It’s a movement to step back from blind acceptance of “the way it is'' and to push ourselves to make a difference and build solidarity.
photo credit Vanessa Valdez.