Proto-pinko, Leo Tolstoy said "music is the shorthand of emotion". Well, if that be true then this noise is it's bathroom graffiti. Hi, I'm Swami John Reis and I have been asked to tell you a little bit about The Widows . Supposedly, I am "good" at this sort of thing which really means the people in the band can't read or write very well and are also very lazy. And thank goodness for that! For without their general lack of aptitude and priority of negligence I contend that such art could not exist.
The Widows hail from San Diego, CA and have been touring San Diego since 2004. After a Split 7" with friends the Creepy Creeps, The Widows released their debut LP Point Despair in 2006 (both on Green Door Records). Recorded by me at City Of Refuge (Night Marchers, The Spits, Black Lips), Point Of Despair was an admirable addendum to the then punk rock n roll underground. Onward to 2011 The Widows delivered a GG Allin/Elvis tribute split 7" with The Heartaches on Cave Punk Records. Both bands paid respect by covering a song from each rock n roll icon. In the meantime, the band was spending many late nights sharing the stage with the likes of The Dickies, Earthless, The Undertones, The Spits and butt-loads more. It was only a matter of time The Widows would hit their stride and strike mud on their latest offering, Critical Massacre.
Critical Massacre is the band's second LP and once again these knuckle-headed, knuckle draggers find residence at Cave Punk Records. Stamped onto meaty, red swirl, plastic the album was recorded by Chris Grundy at House Of Plenty (The Donkeys, Spider Fever, Thin Man). The sound is a hybrid of the ongoing punk rock mutation and much like the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it's hard to discern the date of it's origin. If I was introduced to this blindly I would conclude from the phased and barked vocals, abundance of tape hiss and mid-range guitar crunch that this was from either 1978 or 1984. And for the first time in my life I would be wrong! For this music is a modern creation that embodies the institution of the "garage band" in it's transition from the 1960's to 70's into the 80's, leapfrogging over the 90's and arriving at the now. I can think of no other band that channels inspiration from both Back from the Grave and Nardcore Compilations.
Critical Massacre is an assault of barbaric and primordial punk rock and an amalgamation of revision and reprisal. I find the band's complete lack of posturing allows' the listener to be engaged without a wince, smirk or a ping of cynicism or guilt. In title, Critical Massacre is a timely jab at youth culture, obtuse trends and fitness. Perhaps comical to some, but when the guffaws fade and their middle fingers return to their fist it becomes evident that this band has deep rooted insecurities and acceptance issues that manifest as drunken indifference and buried vocals. Perhaps it all stems from a self realization that music such as this is not intended to be greeted by each ear on earth with affirmation or even tolerance. But consider the blood stained, cum soaked, beer drenched cloth that this was cut from. For true connoisseur's of racket, hum and howl The Widows ability pleasure is superlative.
- Swami John