Noise rock grime and punk rock exuberance unite on Desperate Living’s new EP, SHAME. Wild-eyed vocals and sludgy tones bring to mind the likes of Unsane or Uniform, but a driving beat assures that this is a party, not a funeral. Desperate Living’s intensity is more hip-shaking and fist-pumping than it is wrist-slitting; the band’s bursts of vitriol and swagger could enrapture a theater full of The Bronx fans and a basement full of AmRep nihilists on the same night.
From Philadelphia, PA, Desperate Living consists of four lifelong friends and veterans of such outfits as The Minor Times, Ladder Devils, and Legendary Divorce. Traces of those stellar bands’ sounds haunt the mix, but in Desperate Living, vocalist/guitarist Brian Medlin, guitarist Timothy Leo, bassist Scott Signorino, and drummer Jonathan Van Dine have chosen to burn the complexity of past projects and go for a stripped-down, runaway-steamroller approach.
Vocalist/guitarist Brian Medlin says the EP’s six pummeling songs are connected, with the lyrics exploring “the relationship between shame and truth.” Recorded by Mark Watter at Headroom Studios in Philadelphia, SHAME is the band’s first release for Reptilian Records. It follows two EPs, New Concrete (2019) and City Sadness (2020), both released on Brutal Panda Records. The cover art was created by Jake Vanderlinde.
With a name lifted from a John Waters film, Desperate Living are here to do what they please. “I like that film because it feels like there are absolutely no rules,” states guitarist Timothy Leo. “Anything can happen.”
Reptilian, celebrating its 33rd anniversary this year, boasts a catalog full of noise rock and punk gems, from artists including Dwarves, Easy Action, Pg. 99., KEN mode, Chat Pile, and more.
Lineup: Brian Medlin – vocals, guitar, Timothy Leo – guitar, backing vocals, Scott Signorino – bass, Jonathan Van Dine – drums
Top 5 records of the year 2022, by Brian from Desperate Living:
1. Gel – Shock Therapy
There are so many amazing young hardcore bands coming out, Gel being one of my favs. They sound so pissed, so energized. It’s infectious. It feels like why I got into hardcore and aggressive music in the first place.
2. Thee Oh Sees – A Foul Form
This band gives no fucks and puts out whatever they want, however they want. It must be so fun to be in this band. It seems like they just play all the time and ride on whatever is currently inspiring them that month. In this case, it’s determined and relentless hardcore punk. So ugly and beautiful.
3. Weird Nightmare – s/t
OK, I’m kind of a Metz super fan, so I’m hungry for anything they put out. I think this solo project of frontman Alex Edkins really shines a light on how strong hooks and melody have always been the secret weapon behind Metz’s wall of sound.
4. Chat Pile – God’s Country
Cocky and sarcastic vocals, but done very genuine. Got a touch of Shellac and of course Jesus Lizard in there. The drums sound like an ’80s goth record but altogether in the mix. I absolutely love how powerful it is. This really punches.
5. KEN mode – NULL
These guys have been killing it for decades and yet they may have just put out their best stuff yet.