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Primus Meets Veruca Salt

The Passive Aggressives

After seeing the title of this post, you might have thought that you were going to be reading about some sort collaborative project between Primus and Veruca Salt. That would be really cool, but you’re getting something that’s just as good and with just as hard a rock ‘n roll punch: The Passive Aggressives. Plus, it’s something new and unique, despite the similarities to the previously mentioned bands, which makes the music all that more interesting a listening experience.

The Passive Aggressives are from the San Francisco Bay Area where three of its members (drummer Tim Dayner, bassist Damian Lynch, and guitarist Jose Santiago) were previously involved with the band Feral Moan for four years. Vocalist Erin Temel was added to the roster to form the current foursome known as the Passive Aggressives, so named because their songs give the feeling that something big and angry is about to erupt.

There certainly is a lot truth in that last statement. When you listen to bass-laden, crunch fests such as “Tool Shed” and “Evil Clown” on full blast, it’s not that different an experience from standing next to a rumbling volcano that’s getting ready to spew hot, crimson lava all over some poor, unsuspecting villagers. Let’s just hope that kind of thing doesn’t actually happen at their concerts. Audiences tend not to appreciate being covered in molten lava.

But as I was saying, “Tool Shed” and “Evil Clown” are good songs filled with (passive) aggressive alt rock rhythms. The bass line in “Tool Shed” is especially reminiscent of Les Claypool’s style, which is always nice to hear. The other thing that really struck me about “Tool Shed” is the chorus. When I first heard the chorus and the male vocalist came in and started singing, I couldn’t tell what the hell he was saying. It sounded like he was speaking a foreign language, like Spanish or something, but it still sounded really cool within the context of the song. After listening to the song a second time, I realized that the male vocalist was saying, “Back by the tool shed,” but it still sounded weird and foreign despite the fact that it was English. For some reason, I just think that’s awesome. I just like the idea that the singing became so much a part of the frenzied pace of the song that it seemed like the words were starting to get lost in the furor, but the raw emotion and the meaning behind the music still remained.

Compared to “Tool Shed,” “Evil Clown” takes it down a notch, but is still a fiery sonic assault, no doubt. And despite the fact that “Evil Clown” doesn’t feel quite as fast paced as “Tool Shed” it seems to have a more maniacal delivery, which makes for an interesting listen. In fact, if you’ve ever seen the movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space, a “classic” B-movie, then I can picture a music video with clips from that movie set to “Evil Clown.” There’s a worthwhile project for anyone with some free time and a little video editing know-how.

But these two songs are just a taste of the quality stuff you can find by the Passive Aggressives. If I were you I would keep an eye out for future releases from this band. But for now you can buy The Passive Aggressives EP at CD Baby or iTunes. And if you’re in or near the San Francisco area, you can see them at The Knockout on Friday, March 30.

The Passive Aggressives – Tool Shed
The Passive Aggressives – Evil Clown

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