Self hyped as “powerpop anthems for the weekend,” the Corrupters’ Weakend is one of those rare random Bandcamp finds I knew I’d enjoy just from a glance at the artwork and sparse liner notes. With cover art looking like an ’80s slasher flick VHS cover take on Twin Peaks, Weakend has the green melancholic aesthetic of so many of its Seattle predecessors, and that carries through to the music inside, holding to that power pop promise but also coating it in the kind of seasonal affectiveness disorder doldrums that only Manchester seems to be able to compete with Seattle on. The result is an EP with a lot of odd DNA strands that make classifying it a lot harder than its own copy suggests– for every Nerves element there’s some Black Flag and Ramones, for every Magazine topping there’s some Cars and Fountains of Wayne. And while it sounds like the kind of lost artifact Seattle reissue label Light in the Attic might dig up, it’s all the creation of Bill Conrad Doerrfeld, who wrote and played everything on the EP.
This feat of audio trickery is perhaps most impressive on “Radio,” the centerpiece of the EP and its most overtly Cars-influenced moment. The bulk of Weakend is defined by constant rhythm guitar and Doerrfeld’s alternately reedy and baritone vocals, but “Radio” gives a lot of its sonic space over to a synth lead, keeping the guitar palm muted while Doerrfeld tries a more monotone vocal on for size. It’s a song that works mostly because of its arrangement, and Doerrfeld manages to really make the song feel like a full, live band production to help pitch that arrangement, dropping in some creative drum flourishes and fills as well as dueling licks between the synth and the lead guitar. Even the murky guitar tone on the recording works in the song’s favor, making its borderline nonsensical lyrics seem moodier and more intense than they are.
Clarity does work in the favor of “Saturday,” though, with its shimmery lead hook and a well mixed drum track backing up Doerrfeld’s almost Danzig-like vocal delivery. The song has so many stylistic shifts in its three minute run time that half its excitement comes from guessing whether it will all topple over or not. There’s that New Zealand post-punk glimmer for one portion of the verses, then a simple glammy guitar lead and those Danzig vocals enter and they culminate in this dazzling chorus that forces you to picture Danzig fronting the Clean or something equally bizarre.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Loser City as well as Ovrld, where he contributes music reviews and writes a column on undiscovered Austin bands. You can also flip through his archives at Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover