Exhalants w/ Bulls at Brothers: A Recipe For Earpulp, By Jeremy Johnson
Updated: Aug 11, 2019
If you like punk and you haven’t been to the punk bar, Brothers Lounge in Blackstone, get your punk ass down there ASAP. It’s a gem. Drinks are cheap ($2.25 for a High Life), the PA music is quality, and the bartenders/owners are sweet as can be. The walls are decorated with 70s-90s punk posters and iconography. There are high tables here and there. The performance space is kind of in a cleared-out corner of the room- one of those where there are couple of four ft. amp stacks in front of a curtain. A stage? Don’t be fucking silly.
Bulls is a three-piece, fuzzy post-punk group up from Fort Worth, Tayxhawss. I’ll never get over drummers who also sing, especially when they can drum like Ricky Del Toro. I could tell from standing right in front of the drum, like many post-rock bands, and sure tons of punk bands too, volume was a key part of their sound. The way the songs build and kick into gear is very post-rock, but Ricky’s vocal style is very Ramones-y. The albums don’t have nearly the gut-punch in volume that seeing them live had, but it’s still killer music. Just crank it.
I’ve been to a lot of shows, okay, so I don’t just say this because it was loud, but the Exhalants was one of the loudest bands I’ve ever seen live. Top three to be sure. If I wasn’t wearing my earplugs (which I forgot in my car, almost didn’t go back to get them), the damage would be permanent. Like a cochlear tattoo! “Was it a mistake?” At the time, no. It was amazing, and I’ll always have that memory, so fuck you cochlear tattoo deniers! My teeth rattled. My feet tingled on the buzzing floor. I could literally see air get blow into listeners’ eyes when the pedals were stomped. It wasn’t just the volume, but the tones Steve, Tommy, and Bill found through their harmonies really unravelled me and ground me to a wet, pulpy, mound of grinning man mud.
Exhalants play bass-heavy, thrashy garage metal. “Post-thrash” wouldn’t be too far off. It’s fast, aggressive, but not without its hooks. Their new album is solid, but the split Exhalants put out with Pinko has a bit more fire and vinegar to it.
After the awesome set, the trio took a shot of tequila at the bar. They were bullshitting with Bulls. This being their last night together on this particular tour, it was congratulatory and bro-vial (bro-y and jovial? I’ll see myself out). The punk started snarling over the PA. Between songs, in the silence, I heard the guitarist say, “Mr. Bungle? Fuck yeah!”
I hung out with Ricky and Dylan of Bulls while Exhalants tore down. Ricky says that the loudest show he’d been to might be the show they actually played with Exhalants in a medium-sized room in Chicago. Dylan says that My Bloody Valentine (post-reunion) was his loudest live one, but he hears that Sleep can manipulate solid matter with their sound. So, Omaha, we have that to look forward to. May 31st, Slowdown at 8pm!
Pics and vids up on the insta.