The High Hate Us
Old, fat, bearded white dudes are not cool. That’s why none of the cute girls in Washington DC wanted to talk to me last weekend at Crafty Bastards. I was working the table for my friend’s at Berkley Illustrations (shameless plug: buy those prints bros; get on it now!) and there were a lot of cute, tattooed punker girls. I don’t see these ladies at shows or in town or at the record store. I don’t know where they live or hang out to maybe meet one of them. They sure go to craft shows though. Anyway, they’d be buying their prints and being all “these are so cute, i love them so, *gush gush gush*, do you draw these?”. When I would say no, and point to Ryan their attention would quickly divert away from my ugly mug and to his better kept, more pleasing face. When I got home on Sunday, my latest package from No Idea Records was waiting for me. It included the new album The High Hate Us by Tiltwheel. After one listen, I totally related.
Titlwheel are some California punks who apparently have been around forever but never tour and have only put out two full lengths, The High Hate Us being the second. My beloved Razorcake had a three issue interview arc with this band, and even after reading it they sound like crazy, homeless loser drunks. So I wasn’t really surprised that dues weren’t that prolific. But one thing was clearly conveyed in the interviews; Guitarist/Singer and founder Davey Quinn really gives a shit about how this album sounds.
The persistence really pays off because this album is epic. The music is pop punk awesome, with clean guitars that also sound sad and beaten. Tiltwheel is downtrodden, but not beaten, dreary but not completely depressed. Their pants are muddy, but hey, it’s always sunny in California. It can’t be all bad.
It is also clear to me now, as I wade through these awesome sounds, that Tiltwheel is the foundation for so much music that is out there. If Leatherface is one part of the infamous “Gainesville Sound” then Titlwheel is the other half. Leatherface provided the lemons and hell fire, Tiltwheel provided the snappy responses and sugar-coated it. Both of these bands put out new records, near 20 years into their lives as a band, and they are epic testaments to the fact that just because you get older doesn’t mean you have to get slower, boring or less urgent. Tiltwheel churns out songs at rapid pace. They might not do 3 month tours of every town in the US, and that’s a shame, but this album is killer from moment one to moment none.
They are not for everyone though. The first songs have the word “fuck” in the title, and Davey tosses the “C Word” around pretty aggressively in the first song. But the anger and frustration are clear. He isn’t trying to be shocking, uncouth, or dirty. He’s trying to be mean to the target of his anger. But by the time we get to “Shit Your Pants (A Rock Opera)” the misery is turned inwards to poppy, anthmatic rock and roll that’s part Leatherface, part Avail, part Discount, part Hot Water Music. It’s such a fucking amazing song, the intro/bridge part is some of the saddest breakdown riffage I have ever heard. I love the shit out of this song like so many of my long played favorites and I only just got this CD yesterday.
Tiltwheel have put in more than they have taken. If you listen to any type of contemporary punk rock you owe this band your attention. You will be dancing in your room, sad about your shit, but happy to be alive. The High Hate Us is a soundtrack to the working class of today. Bruce Springsteen had his time, but now we are all hyper and irrelevant to the powers that be. The stress, anxiety, sadness and madness have become too much. We feel guilty, yet we are helpless. But there is always another day and it can only get better. That’s what Tiltwheel is here to remind us of.