Running on, in their words, "100 percent negative energy" since 1996, the three-man Ohio noise machine makes howling, despondent rock 'n' roll that, for all its convulsive deconstructionism, keeps one foot planted in the American music tradition.
When King Louie Bankston lived in Portland in the early 2000s, he helped co-write a chunk of the Exploding Hearts' power-pop classic,
. The journeyman punk's current project folds together the elements that have defined his career for 20 years: big-hearted melodies, restless energy and an eternally adolescent outlook.
-era revivalism is all the rage these days, but the Pittsburgh outfit has sounded (and looked) like a band Lenny Kaye forgot since the late '80s, back when psychedelic organs, folk-rock guitars and shag haircuts were considered majorly uncool. Times have changed; thankfully, the Cynics have not.
Breaking up the Bender onslaught of punk and garage rock, ex-Royal Trux singer Jennifer Herrema draws from a proudly scuzzy well of butt-rock riffs, synth-funk grooves and snarly, leather-tough 'tude.
As co-founder of hardcore shit-disturbers Angry Samoans, Turner spent his youth wrinting songs about Hitler's penis and stabbing yourself in the eye with a fork. Older and wiser—he's got a degree in mathematics—he is no less of a chucklehead, writing '50s-inflected songs about Walgreens and dreaming of Lou Reed. Lucky us.