Music We Love: Flesh Narc/Thin Skin Split
It’s possible that there’s no better time for musicmaking than the weeks and months following an election. Emotions are high, the stakes are far higher, and any notion of equilibrium feels completely destabilized. No matter what you believe or what your place in the world is, we’re guessing you have some pretty strong feelings about how the last two weeks of this country’s life have played out.
Thin Skin and Flesh Narc have been working on their split record for a good deal of time, but today’s release feels awfully well-timed. This joint effort is packed with plenty of angst, chaos, defiance, and—ultimately—triumph. The project is a 23-song manifesto of dissent and dissonance, and it’s perfect for the climate of now. What’s even cooler is that you can buy the thing on tape in addition to the more contemporary formats.
Side A of the split is dedicated to Thin Skin’s self-proclaimed “sloppy, noisey punk.” (We think Thin Skin must mean “sloppy” in terms of spirit only, as songs themselves are quite technically tight.) The first track, “Trash Talk,” is a perfect introduction to Thin Skin’s politics: “1, 2, 3, 4 / Shut up – sit down / go home – just die” is the opening rallying cry given by Katie Reese (vocals and guitar) and Ashley Givens (vocals and bass.) Thin Skin aren’t interested in hearing your trash talk, not one bit; but by the second track, “Trump Is a Pig,” we’re REALLY interested in theirs. “Trump, you’re a pig / Racist fuck motherfucker” gives the president-elect a dose of his own maligning medicine, and we can’t help but be really taken with the simple beauty of the “Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, fuck you” refrain. There are plenty of lighthearted tongue-in-cheek moments on Thin Skin’s portion of the project (especially in “Tits” and “Sloppy”), but everything Thin Skin does here is delivered with a biting doubleness, big drums, and a fantastic amount of bile.
Flesh Narc provides a slightly more disjointed, noisy contrast on Side B of the split. “Get Rob Paid” opens this side with anxious drum fills and manic bass lines. Much like Side A, there isn’t much time here to catch your breath—Flesh Narc wraps a song and throws the listener right back into the fray a few seconds later. The band has a good ear for deconstructing (and then immediately reconstructing) the two-minute punk song. Sometimes it feels like a track is unraveling into noise and chaos too quickly; but as they demonstrate in “Don’t Laugh, This Is About You,” everything gets pulled back together at exactly the right moment. Tracks like “2 Minutes Of Water” prove the trio isn’t afraid of fucking with time signatures while “Jamboree” is a testament to their willingness to simultaneously goof around and get down. (There’s something slightly Dead Milkmen-esque going on here.) Side B is equal parts Dada and satirical weirdness, and we love it.
If you’re in need of some catharsis—or just a raucous good time—get yourself to the Thin Skin/Flesh Narc release show tomorrow, November 19th. Be sure to get yourself a copy of the split on either of Thin Skin or Flesh Narc’s websites if you don’t have a cassette player. And if you feel like taking action in the wake of this election season, Thin Skin announced a few days ago that they will be taking donations for the Southern Poverty Law Center and Running Start at their shows.