Garbage Man – Tobacco Bong Rips 7” EP (Forbidden Place/Personal Militia)
Tobacco Bong Rips is the first proper release by Sheboygan, Wisconsin’s noise rock revivalists, Garbage Man. I first heard the group a few years back (2015?) at an art show I was working – skateboard decks were the featured medium and loud and heavy bands jammed the opening reception. Garbage Man covered KARP and Melvins in their set and were super nice and really young and generally stoked to be playing somewhere outside of their hometown. Fast forward to 2018 and they’ve been steadily touring for a spell now and have a 7” under their collective belts.
Tobacco Bong Rips leads strong with “Hillbilly Kick Squad,” the opening riff sounding swampy like Unsane and swinging like Helmet. Garbage Man’s revered KARP is another relevant reference point here. From the song title “Hillbilly Kick Squad” (KARP stood for “kill all redneck pricks”) to the driving one note riff and subsequent half-time breakdown in “Bad Trip,” their influence is evident. The first side closes with a fun lil’ thrasher, one of those brief tunes that is tailor-made to trail out into the dead wax of a 7”.
The flip side continues in this speedier vein, mixing pseudo blast beats with sludgy riffing. Maybe my favorite of the 5 cuts on the EP, “Engine” is as catchy as it is furious, spitting out questioning, cutting lines like, “why do you think you’re the only one who fucking cares?” and “what are you gonna find man/waiting for your engine to explode?”
The 7” ends with the cheekily titled instrumental “Sea Shanty For Planet Hopping.” The riff kicks off nicely in that same AmRep vibe, then shifts to a clean chorused guitar that introduces a stoner/doom riff. The clean guitar doesn’t really do it for me – feels a bit out of place and sits awkwardly in the mix – but the last 40 seconds of the song, with it’s fun crossover riff, make up for the dragging of the first section. Again, Garbage Man proves they are astute students of the form, placing their long instrumental track at the end of the second side.
Overall, the recording itself adds a lot to the tunes. The drums are punchy and right up the middle, with smartly panned distorted bass and guitar, so it stays sludgy yet maintains definition. Meanwhile, the vocals are nestled just right in the mix. Singer Nick Duude’s vocals are steadily yelled, to be sure, but you can tell when the inflection suggests fury or fucking around, and he’s good at selling both.
Garbage Man is a young band, and wears their influences proudly. Tobacco Bong Rips is a fine EP of its own accord, and it’ll be fun to see where the group ends up sonically as it grows and further establishes its own identity.
Tobacco Bong Rips is available on blue and red splatter 7” vinyl from Forbidden Place Records:
and on 7″ and cassette from Personal Militia Records: https://personalmilitiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/tobacco-bong-rips-bonus-belinda