Rebellious Jukebox XXXV: Black Panties vs Living Things


It’s Black Panties’ world. We just write about it. With his/their THIRD 45 release of 2015, the mysterious misanthropic masked madman has monopolized the pages of the Rebellious Jukebox & won the hearts & minds of disaffected garage punks the world over. When it comes to Black Panties, all of it’s the best part, from his/their hilariously scorn-filled interview with Vice online to his/their still reliably unreliably volatile live shows, but the BEST best part is that while all of these records sound like Black Panties records, they barely sound like each other. The latest, a four song jammer of almost epic length (like five minutes a side!) veers sharply away from the compellingly plodding doom of last month’s (!) release (see Rebellious Jukebox XXXIV) & delivers the garage-pop hooks that were hidden under the paint-peeling distortion of his/their first record of 2015 (see Rebellious Jukebox XXXII, & yeah, there was a flexi in 2014, too!) with significantly less paint peeling distortion. It’s the first Black Panties record where you don’t have to “get it” to get it. Tip of the hat to the cover & insert artwork, as well, sprung from the creepy brain of former Doom Town-er/current Veil-er (briefly Bunnygrunt-er, conflict of interest alert!) Ashley Hohman, which ups the “professionalism” of this release without losing any of its cesspool charm. And don’t worry. Lyrically, the world that Black Panties sees is still full of shit & there is no future &, basically, fuck you.

As clean & pro as Black Panties could ever intentionally or accidentally get, though, they’ll never ever be as clean & pro as the Living Things. Thank god! If you are or were involved in the St Louis music scene & don’t even remember this band existing, there’s a reason for that. Swept up in the post-Strokes garage rock feeding frenzy of the early 00’s, the band got a big time record deal pretty much out of the blue, got sent on press tours of the UK, & THEN played a series of “hometown” showcases to build some street cred or something, which they then used for some “Yeah, St Louis is so closed minded, we just had to get out of there, man” interview back-story fodder. Musically, the 2005 “advance promo” 45 I’m reviewing here isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s catchy radio-friendly garage rock with a few ear-catching production twists & lyrics that are just vaguely political enough to sound edgy. If some TV show had wanted a band that sounded like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club but didn’t wanna splurge, Living Things would have adequately fit the bill. It’s not terrible, they’re probably not terrible people, but, basically, fuck you.

Black Panties-Future

Living Things-Bom Bom Bom

Bonus: The Black Panties VICE interview