Punk has been in a bad place for a while. Metalheads get bent when they see a Kardashian wearing a band shirt but punk has suckled corporate and pop culture teat since Green Day became multimillionaires and The Offspring took over FM radio in the ’90s. How long do we have to wait for someone to take us back to basement clubs with filthy bathrooms, the distortion, the Stiv Bators nihilism, the songs with big hooks AND ferocity, and the fuck the world attitude?
Wait no longer. Milquetoast is here and they are glorious. Their upcoming album Caterwaul sounds like what would happen if you put a few teenage truants in a hermetically sealed chamber and left them nothing but instruments, a few cans of Cheez Whiz, and copies of Black Flag’s The Process of Weeding Out and Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales. Milquetoast has done to gentrified punk what Shitfucker did for metal: take it back to the gutter where the real work is done. They’ve also done it without save the world preachiness. Why save the world when you can party on the ruins of civilization?
The songs on Caterwaul are compact, beautiful dervishes of melody, minimalism, and menace. The band shares the same name as a killer Helmet track. And, for fuck’s sake, there are a bunch of what look like Tribbles from the first Star Trek series on the cover. If you don’t like this album you are officially a poser.
It’s so punk that it’s also free for your ears. Spin the entirety of Caterwaul below and pre-order it here in advance of a January 28 release from Wise Blood.