August 10, 2013
Big Ups are four NYC-based punks whose name AwkwardSound recognizes as constants on the lineups for every Gimme Tinnitus - Exploding In Sound-curated music marathon showcase over the past few years, which naturally should draw up the conclusion without even having to hear them that they're at the very least a "loud" band. The quartet have been workhorses since starting out during their days at NYU back in 2010, releasing singles and doing the whole DIY show thing for the past three years, but with often-dependable Pitchfork scribe Jenn Pelly calling them up to the popular tastemaker's page views upon announcing their new album and first single, it looks as though the time for due respect outside city limits is here. "Goes Black" will appear on Eighteen Hours of Static (due out October 8th on Dead Labour) and if first impressions count for anything, the brainy punks may have just made 2013's best hardcore song. Pelly's assessment of the track draws up parallels to the band's Descendents-indebted past and suspected Moss Icon influence, and while those are perfectly respectable evaluations, AS is feeling the same raw emotions in hearing Big Ups for the first as it did when pressing the play button on Ceremony's 2010 breakthrough Rohnert Park with its opening segue of the unsettling intro "Into the Wayside Part 1" and world-on-fire mosh anthem "Sick." Where Ross Farrar screamed a bevy of worldly digressions, frontman Joe Galarraga only wants to languish in half of that animosity, waxing poetic like Henry Rollins spoken word ("I feel like I've led a pretty happy life, then how come all I can remember is the strife?") in between a fired up chorus where he escapes his own skin ("What happens when it all goes black? / And I'm lying here dying / And I'm trying to think back?" "Goes Black" just tops the two-minute mark, but Big Ups waste no second of it without holding your attention to Galarraga's every word, and at the velocity they play, it's a fully engulfed trashing head rush deserving of every hardcore fans's highest praise.