My crush on Dead Bars has intensified with their latest release Regulars on A-F Records. Seriously, this collection of songs sets up a fantastic second act to their first full-length Dream Gig. Regulars acts as a continuation of the dreams realized from their first act but on a much more intimate scale. This record has been non stop blasting in my car during the usually mundane commute to my boring office job via LA traffic.
Diving into the record, the eleven tracks consist of that trademark Dead Bars guitar sound that I can only describe as something you would hear on “Almost Ready” by Dinosaur Jr. Much like how a musical is set up, this sound is a purposeful reprise that serves as a lingering reminder of the dream that this band made up of John Maiello, C.J. Frederick, John Oddo, and Elliot Thordarson is always reaching for.
The song “I’m a Regular” is one of my favorites on this record. It sets up this image of everyone’s favorite local dive bar that at times feels more like home than anything. The song touches on the loneliness, isolation, camaraderie, and perhaps a touch of self-confidence to say “fuck it, I’m going to do my thing.” I’ve listened to this song quite a few times already and it really resonates with me. It takes me back to a lot of late nights and dark cornered tables I’ve shared with friends or just with myself at places that I frequent enough to not be recognized. However, it made me also relieve a lot of great memories that still make me smile. I also enjoy the nod to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “Refugee” through out the chorus.
What is also interesting about this record is the difference in Maiello’s vocals. Not only does he have his signature growl but in tracks such as “Producto Toxico” and “You Never Left” his voice takes a more slowed down direction providing intimate moments for this record. It’s really great to see that a band with so much intensity can be just as intense with ballads such as these.
The rest of the record is just solid and the songs flow really well together. I am so glad “No Tattoos” is on this record as well. This song had been floating around on their live sets and a split Dead Bars did with The Tim Version. It was my first introduction to Dead Bars when I saw them for the at Awesome Fest X and the catchy lyrics stuck with me enough to listen to more of their songs.
Regardless if you’re a fan of Dead Bars already or not, there is something for everyone on this record.