These guys have relatively quickly managed to become one of my favorite cruising-in-the-car bands, based pretty much solely on the strength of their debut full-length, Why Do We Even Try?. Which doesn’t happen all that often, I have to say — but damn, I love, love, love Deathbed Repentance’s (now Blackmarket Syndicate’s) particular brand of rootsy, raw-throated, almost folk-lyrical punk rock. These guys remind me of all the parts of the whole punk idiom that I like: the loud, bitterly angry guitars that still carry a nice tune, the songs about bottomed-out people and fucked-up situations, the unpolished, unapologetically human (but still impressively in-check) vocals, the whole deal.
Seriously, the music sounds like it could’ve stomped and howled straight off an early Social Distortion LP, body-checking Billy Bragg and The Clash (and Rancid, to boot) along the way. And hey, there’re hints of contemporaries like Time Again, American Steel, & Street Dogs, to boot. There’s even some seriously country touches on Why Do We Even Try?, embellishments that feel more authentic coming from real-live Texas boy Randy Rost than they ever did coming from Mike Ness (sorry, Mike; you’re The Man, but still…). All of which explains why these four guys have already gotten attention from Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat Records — they’re currently on their own (I think?) label, Time’s Up! Records, but if there’s any justice in the world, they’ll soon be movin’ on up.
The only bad thing here is that this is so far the only full-length these guys have out. There’s also a 7″ that I think might’ve preceded the CD, but I’ve never actually seen it, unfortunately. On the positive side, they’re apparently working on a followup full-length, due out in Summer 2009, and in the process they’ve apparently changed their name from Deathbed Repentance to “Blackmarket Syndicate.” Not sure what the reasoning was behind the change, but hey, the name’s not the critical part, right?
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