Jeff Moody

You need Police Teeth more than you know

Jeff Moody can't get enough of Police Teeth and the band's fourth album, out next week on Latest Flame Records.

By - Oct 13th, 2012 04:00 am
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Right off the bat, lemme come clean: I love this band, Police Teeth. By the time I was led to them, they had two full elpeez out (Jazz Records For Sale and Real Size Monster Series) and were just getting ready to release their third, the excellent Awesomer Then The Devil so I had some catching up to do. Rock music being my favorite thing in life aside from women, food and booze, finding the Police Teeth trove was akin to stumbling into some all-u-can-eat international buffet with a pour-yer-own bar staffed by beautiful ladies from around the globe and staying there for a month. There is also the added deliciousness of being part of a relative handful of people who know of them. They really are like a secret band.

Having said that, I have these wishes and expectations for them now. I would really like to see this band blow up big and make some sort of living making their music the way they want to. I worry that, like so many other great bands in the past, they’ll eventually give it up before anyone knows about them. Who wants to be lugging a thousand pounds of shit all over the country playing for a dozen people at each stop? The physical (not to mention financial) realities begin to set in once yer in yer thirties.

In terms of expectations, leading up to Police Teeth’s fourth, self-titled elpee, I wondered whether they could maintain the sky-high standard they’ve set for themselves.

I’m happy to tell you that, in my opinion, they are still the best band in North America, and the new record confirms it. James Burns and Chris Rasmussen write topical, gut punching lyrics around head kicking riffs and Richy Boyer’s unstoppable beats. If anyone else is doing it better than these two, I want names. These songs are working class anthems written by working class guys. Their perspective is clear, their motives are pure. The record opens with “Bellingham Media Blackout,” and sets the tone with a stomp/march beat/rhythm as heavy and menacing as an unwanted home visit from the National Guard. “My V-4 Weighs A Ton” follows, and might be a joking reference to the aforementioned insanity of setting up and tearing down, town after town for little appreciation and even less money. The line at the breakdown, “Their never gonna need you/As much as you need them” is devastating in that context. Other standout tracks include the pent-up tension of “Emmanuelle In Renton,” an usually (and perfectly) restrained song about a childhood neighbor’s house in which the father had a room that neither the kids nor even their mother was allowed in. “My Baby’s Got The Black Lung” is the flat-out punk track, lashing out at the helpless and hopelessness of the world’s finest healthcare system.

My personal favorite is “Chicago One Point Five” not only because I love screaming out it’s t-shirt-worthy line “STEP OFF MY PORSCHE” while being buffeted by I-94 traffic on my daily commute, but mainly because I’ve been lucky enough to have lived a little of it in real life.

Police Teeth are, by their own account, largely ignored in their hometown of Seattle, but when they come to Chicago to play shows at the friendly, fantastic PRFBBQ or Quencher’s near Logan Square, they are loved. When James Burns sings “We’ll trade our ocean in for the great lake,” I know exactly what he getting at. If they could, they would pull up the tent stakes and move to the Midwest. I wish they could. I can’t get enough of these guys.

Police Teeth’s new album is out on Latest Flame Records, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary at the Cactus Club. Click here for TCD’s interview with label owner Dan Hanke.

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