Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Countless Thousands, a punk rock band located out west in California with a new six track album that dropped yesterday. That fresh collection of songs, entitled ‘You’re Goddamn Right,’ is one of the more fascinating entries into the indie scene this fall. Is it worth picking up? Well, the people who crowd-funded it certainly think so. Let’s dig into the half dozen songs and determine why Countless Thousands should be on your radar.
The introductory tune on the album, ‘The Asskicker’s Union,’ was also released with an original music video. You need to watch this video - it’s absolutely remarkable. It took the band over a year to produce and includes over 4,000 photographs. Now, that kind of commitment would be heartbreaking if the song wasn’t as excellent as its visual counterpart. Fortunately, it absolutely is.
‘The Asskicker’s Union’ is a complete explosion of personality. Lead vocalist Danger Van Gorder commands the soundscape with sheer intensity and the lyricism is quirky, relatable, and surprisingly excellent. Countless Thousands walk a line between pop music and punk rock, and in doing so, they’ve actually carved out a very unique space they can occupy. This is clean, fun, unadulterated, pure rock and roll with a lovable twist.
(One could argue this sound does harken back to the early 2000s - bands like My Chemical Romance defined themselves as “pop punk,” and that’s sort of what this is. I’d argue it’s much more tolerable for someone outside of the niche, though.)
‘We’ve Got A Dress Code’ is a very well produced track, but it is filled with endless tropes. It’s very much the early 2000s “I don’t fit in at school” anthem that observes very stereotypical social cliques within that setting. It may resonate with high schoolers, but older listeners will probably get lost in translation. (By older, I mean anyone 20 and over.)
‘Excellent Horse Like Lady,’ on the other hand, feels entirely different and especially refreshing. The lyrics are absolutely hysterical, and they’re backed by one of the best compositions on the EP. In fact, I’d argue ‘Excellent Horse Like Lady’ is the most dynamic track on the album. It thrives in its extended five minute space, and everything from the off-kilter lyricism to the searing electric guitar is fantastic.
‘Only Child’ is another excellent track that lives and breathes on the bizarre lyricism. “My sister is an asshole,” Van Gorder croons in the tune, and while it’s hilarious, you can tell there is a harsh, potentially relatable situation at the root of it. It isn’t just a track about siblings disagreeing; it’s a track about siblings having serious strife in their adult lives.
‘Webster’s Dictionary Defines Marriage As’ is, as one may expect, a very interesting commentary on marriage and the superficial nature of certain elements of the institution. ‘Gang Fight’ follows, an amusing account of a local gang fight that was clearly written by someone whose impression of gang violence is closer to 'West Side Story' than Chicago’s south side. Either way, it’s a rocking affair, one that would actually work well in musical form. (In fact, these songs could literally all be part of a musical.)
Countless Thousands is highly personable, immensely entertaining contemporary pop punk rock. Out of the six tracks, ‘We’ve Got A Dress Code’ is the least redeeming, but by and large, it’s an excellent effort full of fantastic tunes worth checking out.