October 10, 2012

Album Review: Trash Talk's 119


2010's breakthrough effort Eyes & Nines granted Trash Talk a golden pass to go on an absolute tear, rising out of the sweaty basements in Southern California's DIY punk scene to becoming arguably the biggest genre offering of today, and maybe even the last decade. Becoming Pitchfork darlings while palling around with Tyler, the Creator and the rest of the Odd Future collective in both a social and professional sense have been two of the biggest reason's behind the Los Angeles-by-way-of-Sacremento thrashers rising stock, simultaneously thrusting them into favor with a critical elitist crowd and a reckless youth-led hip-hope culture not yet familiar, but certainly curious with their sound. Despite their growing success, Trash Talk's haven't evolved too far away from the gnashing physical brand of hardcore punk they originally surfaced onto the scene with outside from sharpening their edges along the way. Last year's blazing listmaking EP effort Awake was their most piercing example of this to date, but with TTC now representing a pseudo major label in Odd Future Records, wider exposure has again provided Trash Talk opportunity to make a louder noise than ever. Squander it they do not while forcing themselves through the glass ceiling and inviting the masses into their digs in the process is their latest apex, 119.

Much like scene vets Converge's latest effort, Trash Talk are following suit in refuting any categorization to their kind of hardcore, which makes 119 more about a state of mind than anything. The significance of "119" itself is a reference to the band's creative safe haven in downtown Los Angeles, which according to them is surrounded by all sorts of ill-fated scenery and messed up walks of life. "How the other half lives" seeps graphic imagery into the LP that feeds the fire behind the band's chronic anger and scathe, with tracks like "Exile on Broadway" and "Bad Habits" painting pretty gnarly pictures of self-imposed gutter life for the quartet. While the pace of the album firmly grips the quick and heavy hand that invigorates Trash Talk's live presence, the production on 119 entertains big shifts if you hold your ear close to the thunder. "F.E.B.N." is Trash Talk's most cohesive example of controlled chaos yet, resembling a proper, polished single in light of its outward display of guts and "rise above" glory, while the one-two punch of "Fuck Nostalgia" and "Apathy" uppercut big swinging skate punk melodies over Garrett Stevenson's crusty riff lines as Sam Bosson and Spencer Pollard create circling pit-worthy rhythms. 119's most obvious surprise arrives when TTC and OFWGKTA consummate their marriage on "Blossom & Burn," a track that finds both Tyler, the Creator spitting out rhymes as Hodgy Beats name-drops Portishead along the way, bastardizing Odd Future's satirical horrorcore with Trash Talk's NYC punk persuasions in the process. For all it's grungy behavior and pop infestations, it only makes sense that Trash Talk close the chapter on this 22-minute story with another shade of grey in the form of the sludgy dooms day device, "Dogman."

119 was self-produced by the band, a choice that speaks volumes on how strongly Trash Talk feels over controlling their product, and ultimately, their sound. It turns out hopping in bed with their best friends in Odd Future hasn't done anything to kill off the elements of danger or the level of intensity to which their momentum can climb, nor has it distracted them from their ability to rip society down to its bare skin and bones. There's moments on 119 that will invite new faces into their creative space, but that's more than a good thing, as nothing backs up punk ethos more than an open mind. Everything these SoCal DIY thrashers have been building up to since their breakthrough is rewarded to them with a new pinnacle to top on 119, a fully engulfed slaughterhouse of scathing misery, debauchery and chaos.




Trash Talk's 119 is available now on Odd Future Records.

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