The San Diego band Retox features the Locust’s bassist Justin Pearson on vocals, and shares much of that band’s extremity, dissonance, and whiplash tempos, but in a more straightforwardly hardcore vein. Their new album, Beneath California, will be released next week, but you can stream the whole thing right here on DM.
If The Locust isn’t a helpful reference, you might want to look them up; they’ve been around for over 20 years, and if you’re into any kind of extreme rock, you might find much to enjoy there. Originally exponents of powerviolence—a ‘90s mini-genre that sought to push hardcore to its own nth degree with absurd brevity, lightning-fast drums, and brutal rawness that owes much to grindcore while intentionally steering clear of metal tropes—the Locust eventually augmented that aggression with the unpredictable time signature changes of math rock and the squared-off synth textures of much early ‘80s New Wave. Their stage presentation also diverges wildly from doctrinaire hardcore—they perform in creepy form-fitting insect uniforms. If powerviolence has a DEVO, it’s the Locust. Here’s a taste:
And here’s an early Retox vid of which I’m fond. I am a sucker for this level of nervous energy, it reminds me a lot of some of the completely sick bands that have emerged from the Providence, RI, scene.
Retox were formed in late 2010 by the aforementioned Pearson, with Locust drummer Gabe Serbian, who left in 2013. The band retains much of the Locust’s spazziness and aggression, but with a more directly rock approach. I suppose some might find Retox more accessible, but when dealing with shit like this “accessible” is a mighty relative term. Beneath California is due out on February 10th, and Retox’s month-long North American tour begins that same day in San Diego. The band will tour Europe and the UK starting in late March. Dates are listed on their Bandpage site. There’s a generous allotment of their older material available to stream there, as well, but the new stuff is right here. Enjoy.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention these two quick things about Justin Pearson: one, he plays a role opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg in the recent Asia Argento film Incompresa, and two, he played an audacious prank on the Jerry Springer show in 1998. This was all a complete put-on, though the onstage farmer-blow was clearly real.