Suburban Vermin – ‘TV Head Nation #2’

The Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we return our gaze to Suburban Vermin, a punk trio we’ve featured semi-regularly here on the site considering their prolific 2017 release schedule. These rapid releases, though, can be attributed to a time of political strife and unrest. The band’s new music tells the continuing story of King TV Head, a fictional character in a dystopian future that is, frankly, eerie similar to President Donald Trump.

On October 20, Suburban Vermin will release the next issue of these recordings, ‘TV Head Nation #2.’ Like the releases that preceded it, it’s short and sweet, clocking in with two songs. The EP, however, is a much meatier endeavor than it may appear, with the band also releasing a 22-page comic book to accompany it amongst other items like trading cards, papercraft figures, and a board game.

As always, I’d highly recommend reading the comic issue before digging into the music. The beauty of these releases, and a quality that persists through this latest edition, is that they’re multi-medium efforts. Like a good set of liner notes, the comic enhances one’s perspective of the music beautifully. It’s also chock-full of fantastic moments, such as the story’s protagonist telling King TV Head she, “voted for her… y’know, the non-warlord.”

‘Different Note’ is one of the most musically cohesive singles Suburban Vermin has ever released with the lead vocalist in fine, aggressively angst-filled form. That is complemented by the band’s best instrumentation to date with ‘Different Note’ boasting absolutely thunderous electric guitar and percussion performances. The mix and master of the track is notably stronger than previous releases in the ‘TV Head Nation’ series, too.

One thing worth noting is that ‘TV Head Nation #2’ is the least outwardly political of Suburban Vermin’s releases. ‘Beat Before The Breakdown,’ a Clash-esque, highly punchy punk piece, offers some intriguing social commentary about Suburban Vermin’s frustration with modern America. Their protests feel more exasperated, and I suspect their commentary of the Trump presidency will continue to cascade into further disappointment and confusion as Trump becomes a more divisive figure by the day.

While it doesn’t take as aggressive shots across the bow at Trump like its predecessors, ‘TV Head Nation #2’ offers some of the highest quality music Suburban Vermin has released. The comic is one of their best, too, finally introducing King TV Head in person and ending on a dramatic cliffhanger. Check it out October 20, it’s a wonderful entry in this little continuing series of EP’s that has me looking forward to the finale near the end of the year.

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