Well, let’s see what we have here with Media Control’s Tax on Freedom EP…
Slightly negative and overtly political band name? Check. Threatening album title? Check. Underage kids screaming about social and political “issues” like “False Allegiance” and “World War III”? Check. And they’re from Los Angeles? Yeah. Everything else that makes hardcore-tinged street punk good? Checkmate.
2007 has been a rough year for street punk, especially for the good, socially-minded variety. Cheap Sex and A Global Threat broke up, the Scarred had to cancel their tour, and the Casualties put out a live album. In the midst of it all, L.A.’s Media Control dropped their Tax on Freedom EP, a seven-song introduction to the band’s skilled musicianship, unabashed political slant, and youthful, energetic spirit. And unlike the street punk bands that pride themselves on being drunken, uneducated pinheads (Lower Class Brats, I’m looking at you), Media Control has kept up a busy schedule of shows even while its members pursue higher education at Cal State Los Angeles.
Out the gates with the EP’s opener “False Allegiance,” the frenetic but proficient drumming of Max Control is readily apparent. Pounding out tight rhythms with concise aneurhythmic fills, the drumming on Tax on Freedom is the foundation that helps hold the songs together so well. “Postwar Trauma” opens with an ominous and foreboding guitar lead-in before cutting to drums, semi-distorted vocals and a whole lotta “fuck you”s, while the blistering title track leans towards a more hardcore propensity with near-skatepunk rolling drum pulsations and slightly heavier riffs. “S.O.A.” wraps up the EP with a great composition, furious rhythm, and some of the album’s most incisive lyrics directed at the School of the Americas and U.S. involvement in South America. Though it does drag a bit at nearly five minutes, the song shows promise in Media Control’s ability to write lyrics with more depth than generic social unrest and rebellious dissent.
With the quality of Tax on Freedom and the fanbase they’ve already built up in Southern California, these 18-year olds have a promising future ahead of them. While the EP itself probably won’t blow away too many listeners, it is nevertheless a solid debut and shows tremendous potential for Media Control.