Weed Dealer / The Many Grams - Finest Quality... Slow Delivery (Cover Artwork)

Weed Dealer / The Many Grams

Finest Quality... Slow Delivery (2020)


When I saw that a split between Johannesburg, South Africa’s Weed Dealer and Venice, Italy’s The Many Grams was still on deck after all that has unfurled over the past few months, I was pleasantly surprised. With so many other record releases being postponed, this would be the perfect little treat.

Weed Dealer came out of nowhere in 2019 with a pitch-perfect debut EP (“The Chain”), that overlaid charming melodies with millennial despair. On “Finest Quality… Slow Delivery”, they come charging out of the gate with “G.T.F.O.”. In the span of 60 seconds, the band blasts through golden-era Fat Wreck speed punk before switching gears to a midwestern emo sing-along. Keep your finger near the “replay” button; it deserves multiple, consecutive listens.

“The Price of Progress” showcases what WD does best; anthemic hooks and infectious riffs. Lyrically, it is familiar territory for the band as it looks at the despair and isolation that coincides with overwrought expectations and imploding ambition. The song also highlights the Italy/South Africa connection with a guest verse by Samall Ali of Venitian hardcore act Slander. His gruff vocals contrast with the smooth croon of frontman Martin Barrios and help drive home the bleakness.

“Livin’ the Dream” is a nice little 50’s pop ditty, but after the rush of “G.T.F.O.” and “Progress”, it almost seems underwhelming. Luckily, The Many Grams keep the momentum going with their half of the split.

“Secret Handshakes” get things going with a burst of rambunctious energy. Unlike many international acts that sound all too much like their North American influences, TMG infuses a healthy dose of sweaty, Adriatic fervor to the hardcore mix. And “Secret Handshakes” is case in point.

TMG slows things down a bit with the plodding, rhythmic “Toxic Romance” but takes it back into overdrive with the closer “Shiny Nights”. The song is certifiably hardcore but rips with a real rock ’n’ roll ferocity. It’s reminiscent of early Bronx. It hits hard.

Splits can be divisive or they can be revelatory, connective experiences. This is definitely the latter. Since both Weed Dealer and The Many Grams are relatively fresh, this split is a perfect introduction to two distinct, yet complimentary bands. Hopefully the potential shown on “Finest Quality… Slow Delivery” is just the tip of the iceberg for them both.