Culture Abuse - The Day Dreams of Nothing [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Culture Abuse

The Day Dreams of Nothing [EP] (2013)


Culture Abuse lurch onto the scene with their debut EP, The Day Dreams of Nothing, sounding like a strange mix of gritty punk rock, 90’s-style grunge, and even a little 80’s goth. One of the more exciting bands to emerge from Northern California in recent years, Culture Abuse balance raw power with grimy, drugged-out style. According to their Bandcamp page, this EP was recorded on “multiple substances”, and it sounds like it.

Culture Abuse’s sound is delivered with such manic intensity and relentlessness that it’s almost disturbing. Guitar strings quiver over the six vicious songs, as if the guitarists’ fingers can’t stop twitching, and vocalist David Kelling’s belligerent, distorted vocals sound like they were recorded from behind a barred window in a padded cell. Drummer Ian Anderson, also of Bay Area punk rock heroes Dead to Me, is one of the best drummers hitting the skins today, and he anchors the loose guitars and heavy bass with a solid rhythmic backbone.

“Take It Out On Yourself” is a convulsive, almost poppy two minutes that culminates in a crushing, kick-ass breakdown for its finale and “Sing to Me”, is a slower offering that allows Culture Abuse to explore their mellower, more atmospheric side. Lyrically, themes of drug abuse, boredom, and mental illness are prevalent, lending the music a haunting, tortured quality. It’s a vibe that can become somewhat suffocating, but is effective for this brand of grungy rock n’ roll. You’ll feel like you need a shower after a few listens.

Cut from similar cloth as fellow Northern California bands Ceremony and Comadre, Culture Abuse is another exciting band doing something new within the confines of hardcore punk rock, creating a disturbing and disturbed style and mood that is difficult to pigeonhole, difficult to shake off, and difficult to deny.