Suburban Vermin - 'The Awakening' & 'Issue #0'

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 evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Suburban Vermin, an indie punk rock act from Seattle celebrating their tenth year together. On May 4, famously known as ‘Star Wars Day,’ the group will be releasing a single entitled ‘The Awakening.’ Then two days later on May 6, Suburban Vermin will debut ‘Issue #0’ of their ‘TV Head Nation’ series of releases. The latter release will include an accompanying comic book as well. Let’s delve into the two releases and see if they’re worth picking up!

There’s something particularly lovely about combining punk music with one’s love for ‘Star Wars.’ ‘The Awakening’ chronologs the experience of going to a fancy movie theater to see ‘The Force Awakens,’ the seventh film in the franchise that was released to global fanfare in 2015. In a way, though, the song isn’t really about a galaxy far, far away. “Like BB-8, I won’t be around forever,” the lead vocalist declares in a song that also explores other themes of potential internal strife.

The first entry in ‘TV Head Nation’ includes two songs: ‘Bleed For Me’ and ‘Lola.’ Essentially, the series will follow the misdeeds of King TV Head, an elected leader of the United States that rules with a totalitarian iron first. It’s a concept album about a more drastic version of Donald Trump, which is a fascinating way to protest the new leader of the free world. The first comic issue is frightening, too, with King TV Head attacking those that don’t align with his specific “family values.”

‘Bleed For Me’ seems to be a critique on Trump supporters in a way. The now-president asked his supporters to put quite a bit of faith in him - faith that may end up being misplaced. The lead vocalist on ‘Bleed For Me’ isn’t quite as strong or impactful as the vocalist that took the reins on ‘The Awakening,’ but it’s a powerful, punchy political statement worth listening to. I'll be curious to see how much farther they take their comedic, but dire analysis of Trump in the coming issues of the series.

It’s not often there’s a love ballad amidst a collection of politically charged protest tunes. That’s the case, however, with ‘Lola,’ which is arguably the best track of the three showcased in this review. It’s especially well written, infectiously catchy, and best digested with its accompanying comic book. It’s also superbly produced, which is immensely refreshing considering the mass amounts of poorly produced punk that come across my desk on a daily basis.

‘The Awakening’ will be a fantastic single to pick up this ‘Star Wars Day’ on May 4. Furthermore,  the first entry of four in the ‘TV Head Nation’ series is very much worth your time, especially for ‘Lola.’ Give those songs a listen on May 6 and connect with the band below.