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POW! – Hi-Tech Boom

The word “fuzz” gets tossed around quite a bit these days in regards to many punk inspired indie rock bands that cross the blurred lines in the sub-genre wasteland of the underground. This adjective couldn’t be more apt to use when describing the debut album from the Bay Area’s punk trio POW! Filled with short form, quick firing gems, this debut is packed with fuzzy, old tube-amp crunchiness, and lyrics about the decay of their city and the crumbling world around them. This collage is the essence of the POW! debut LP, Hi-Tech Boom.

POW! play a ragged and raspy garage style punk with just enough pop sensibility to smooth out the rough edges, while also injecting a wide array of influences spanning across decades from the likes of Iggy & The Stooges, and Devo, to the Black Keys and Heartsrevolution.

While they will never be accused of sound innovation, the straight ahead punk paced scuzz of songs like”66” and “Hope Dealers” will have pulses racing and ears ringing. The more bluesy slowed down rumblings of the title track, as well as, “Switchboard Scientist,” will have heads graciously bobbing along. The intro’s to both of these songs also have an eerily similar synth groove to “Hip Hop” by Dead Prez showing perhaps the willingness to incorporate hints of an even wider range of influences.

Signed recently to Castle Face Records, owned by John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, this debut album is impressive and the trashy garage sound, complete with tin can vocals make them feel as though they were destined to put out this debut album on Castle Face. There are enough tempo changes, dynamic hooks, and attitude to make a veteran band in the same vein jealous. It’s nice to hear a new band that avoids reinventing the wheel, but lets it roll with their vast influences displayed proudly like patches on their favorite denim jackets.

Speaking of John Dwyer, this culture-bent poet took thought to paper in telling POW! tale of inspiration for Hi-Tech Boom, which is in a nutshell, a “fuck you” to the fast-paced gentrification movement in San Francisco.

Deep in the graveyard SF a young hand with black and cracked nails is pushing up through a broken pile of E-slag. Bitter teeth tear through server cables and motherboards, trying to be freed from the ever deepening sludge of tech waste…the Iphone is the new Styrofoam cup.

Stepping over them, eyes glazed, feet dragging, blank face aglow in the eerie luminescence of the smart(?) phones underfoot, is the spirit of these songs.

San Francisco has long been filling up with noobs…but now we face the most dangerous, the most egregious and blandest of them all…
people with lots of money.

NOBODY can square-up a joint like rich people.

POW! have written a punk eulogy to our fair city.

Pop up shops!
Specialty shops!
What the fuck is happening???

There goes the taqueria that used to kick ass, replaced by a deli with a line of assholes a mile long. “I wonder what the sandwiches are like and do they make their own salsa?” It’s enough to be the catalyst for a bad day or a great fucking song.

In the vacuum that is now expanding there is a ragged and defensive sound vibrating out from the determinedly dirty underground. THIS is POW!…deep 80’s synth bass percolating under the circuit-swamp-fried-egg guitar…the drums a teenage tiger’s heartbeat and vocals delivered like a dead-pan face-slap from a kid half your age.

The recording is simple and dense…and it has a natural Doppler effect on headphones.
It’s perfectly poppy and rough at the same time, and it has a message, so dig in ear-wise…
Heed the warning bell about the streets of our home being clogged with the cholesterol of normals…next they could be knocking on your door…

— John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees/Castle Face)

Tracklisting for Hi-Tech Boom:

01. Glitch
02. Hope Dealers
03. Vertical Slum
04. Sugi Walks
05. Switchboard Scientist
06. 66
07. Cyber Attack!!
08. Hi-Tech Boom
09. @ The Station
10. Shoes (PLEH)
11. Fire Hose


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