It seems the term “grunge” is getting thrown around again quite a bit these days when it comes to describing the current crop of buzzy-guitar-based bands. And while the actual definition of the word has always been somewhat confusing, in the 20-odd years it’s existed, it has also become a fairly accurate identifier. It would not be incorrect to use the word when illustrating the sunburned sonic resonance of Amherst, MA’s California X. There are a variety of elements at play on their debut full-length. You will find sludgy metal change-ups, lo-fi dream-pop, and ‘90s-ish pop-punk (particularly in the vocals) buried under heaps of glorious ear-piercing guitar fuzz. This is what the soundtrack to Easy Rider would be like if it was made two decades later and starred J. Mascis, Bob Mould and Cris Kirkwood instead of Hopper, Fonda and Nicholson. There are a good chunk of bands doing this type of stuff right now, but California X is easily one of the most impressive. Recently a friend of mine told me about a dude he knows who regularly wears a tee shirt that says, “Bring back the early ‘90s.” That dude would love this record.
8.0 / 10
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On Jan. 13, Don Giovanni Records will release Nights in the Dark, the second full-length from California X. Here's the title track:
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