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Music Review: Fake Problems – Spurs and Spokes/Bull>Matador

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Musically, Fake Problems has no problems at all. A Naples, Florida punk quartet of self-described friendly guys has released one of the funniest, and their Spurs and Spokes/Bull>Matador CD-EP is one of the most inventive EP’s of the year. What’s more, half the songs originated from a DIY release the friendly boys burned on their home computers a couple of years ago while most of them were still in high school. Their combination of acrid country-punk with an Against Me! hardcore sensibility fills the bill of what they call "music for the fall of Western youth" perfectly.

Band members include Casey Lee on guitar, Derek Perry on bass, frontman Chris Ferren and drummer Sean Stevenson. They thrash their instruments with a highly energized nihilistic abandon, singing about, well, nothing at all really. They’re just a bunch of dumb teenage angst anthems that give you a chance to make a mosh pit out of your apartment.

The EP starts with the extraordinary “Motion of Ocean,” a lyrical and musical skewer to country music, quite brilliant in its low concept satire. “Heat on the Feet” is another blazingly fast thrash piece, followed by “Oh, Your Silver Heart,” an alt. country ballad that is very reminiscent of early Whiskeytown.

The rest of the EP sounds like tributes to fellow Floridians Against Me and Hot Water Music. But all of it is maniacal fun, a rollercoaster ride through the history of punk and thrash.

Where Fake Problems really breaks down is on the business end. It’s not the bands' fault, but their label, Sabot Productions, hardly even advertises the band. Maybe Sabot only has a small budget for PR and distribution, but c’mon. The band’s website barely mentions the release; it’s not available online at either Amazon or CD Baby. Because of this, I have to promote another band that is n't carried in Amazon.

Frankly, the folks at Sabot need to get their PR shit together otherwise you’re only going to hear about this album through the grapevine, reviews like this one, or if you’re lucky enough to see one of their live shows. While the members of Fake Problems aren’t interested in mega-stardom, I’m sure they’d like to get at least a little support from their label. And if Sabot isn’t careful, they’ll lose Fake Problems to another indie that has a budget.

Be that as it may, this is a sterling EP. Spurs and Spokes/Bull>Matador should be played at very high decibels. Any record this good is worth losing your hearing over.

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