REVIEW: Nice Guys/Black Beach – Split Single

A recent, split 7-inch cataloging the vigor of a Boston micro-scene gets punk right.

Nice Guys and Black Beach both grapple for the spotlight and then some on this Burner Records outing, which is streaming in New Noise magazine, and packs six bits of anthemic garage-punk into a run time of about 10 minutes. Songs like Nice Guys’ EP-opening “Grodelo” set the stage with blasts of guitar grime, sludgy bass, and vocals that are barked so loudly they fuzz out nearly everything else in the mix. Elsewhere, Nice Guys play it angular – as on the Brainiac-ish “Condos” – and get your adrenaline flowing with wailed lines like “You can have San Francisco/ Stay out of my neighborhood!” Thrilling, blood-pumping stuff.

Black Beach is a more nuanced beast, if only slightly, and, when I say that, I mean the band’s two songs break the one-minute mark. When guitarist/vocalist Steven Instasi roars “Hey!” on “Poor Posture,” you can feel the acid running through his veins, and it’s a feeling he cements on the bitter “Fever Dreamin’,” which, despite some atmospheric guitar work, still feels like a punch to the gut. These guys are out to kill, and do it.

A must-find for punk fans who think the world came to a grinding halt at CBGBs in the late 70’s.


About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.