STREET EATERS - Rusty Eyes & Hydrocarbons (CD)
Street Eaters, a band formed around the concept of the absolute minimum number of compromises, is the fierce combination of Megan March and John No. Born in Berkeley & Oakland and calling the East Bay their home for their entire lives, the influence of the 90's punk scene weighs strongly on their sound. The band chews up its punk, riot grrrl and DIY influences/idols and spits out a joyous noise with characteristics of each, yet not quite resembling any. Meeting through Berkeley's notorious 924 Gilman St Project, March and No found themselves drawn to each other, both in their music and their personal lives. Though strictly romantic at the beginning, they held the same goals and aesthetics in terms of playing in a band with political leanings coupled with buzzing musical energy. Pausing from No's slot as the frontman for the Fleshies and March's seat behind the kit in Before The Fall and Neverending Party, Street Eaters began working on their earliest material. They quickly developed their voice by sharing the writing duties 50/50, call and response, sharing the mic; there are no silent partners in this band! The resulting singles and the We See Monsters ep on Bakery Outlet Records nabbed the band a rapidly growing fanbase around the US.
Rusty Eyes & Hydrocarbons, their first full length LP, is an album brimming over with the kind of energizing power many bands aren't capable of. Rife with pointed messages and dreamlike symbolism, the album was written in their home studio where all four walls are painted gold. The album's songs buckle and roil under the weight of No's pummeling, overdriven bass lines and March's more-than-adept pounding behind the drum kit (at times recalling the rhythmic work of Keith Moon). Vocally, their two voices tangle and separate with a sense of urgency; at points it sounds as if they're fighting against one another then, suddenly, they come together in celebratory, wink-and-a-smile, roughshod melodies. On top of this ever-present motor, each track places emphasis on a different highly personal subject tied to the greater context of the world we live in, balancing the macro and the micro. "Through The Cracks" tackles the topic of health care -- at once fiercely personal for the band yet universal, an anger that many of us struggle with. "Nation Builder" propulsively takes on the post-Iraq practice of sending criminals to fight our wars, while "Livid Lizard" twists the woe of the Gulf of Mexico against the imagery of a homegrown Godzilla (with all of the lizard's tenacious noise and shrieking in tow!). The fuzzed out grind of Street Eaters' version of Jefferson Airplane's "Two Heads", with its strongly anti-religious and pro-woman's liberation elements, makes it wholly their own. "Ashby and Shattuck", the band's most intimate song, sets two lovers on the corner of their hometown's busiest intersection, exploring the balance between the need to be alone with one's thoughts with the fact that when you're in a true partnership you are never really alone.
Live, Street Eaters take the stage with passion, fervor and celebration of the human spirit with the hope that crowds will raise their fists and join them. By acknowledging that the political can be very personal and vice-versa, they aspire to reach out and energize people. To further drive that philosophy home they pass out copies of their lyrics to the crowd, akin to their heroes of the 90's. Sharing stages and tour stints with the likes of The Ex, forgetters, Grass Widow, Shellshag, This Bike is a Pipebomb and Screaming Females, the duo utilizes No's multiple-amp bass setup and March's crashing drum kit to see how much intensity and volume they can invoke without losing the power and intimacy of their vocals. Demanding the audience's attention, the band fills up the entire space by getting sonically, emotionally and intellectually naked. It doesn't hurt that you're jumping around and, generally, losing your mind with a giant smile while all of this is happening.
Out July 12, 2011 on Bakery Outlet and Plan-It X Records, Rusty Eyes & Hydrocarbons is a record that's simultaneously infectious and abrasive. Turn it up loud enough and Street Eaters will loosen your limbs, crumble your preconceived notions, and leave you feeling euphoric and clear-eyed.