Freshkills is a Brooklyn-based five piece as poisoned and poisonous as the famed landfill from which they take their name. No, they didn’t form a couple months ago, following their glo-fi dreams from Ohio to Bushwick. They’ve slung bitter, prickling riffs, sinewy grooves and basement punk poetics since the rebirth of Lower East Side rock and the critically-endorsed coronation of Julian, Carlos and Karen O.
Freshkills’ first self-released EP Here For the Backlash was a sharp stick in the eye for snarkier-than-thou internet hype mongers. The band built a tight local following on the backs of two LPs (2006’s Creeps and Lovers produced with Joel Hamilton, 2008’s Freshkills with Alex Newport) and a notorious live show reminiscent of when rock ’n’ roll was the most confrontational art form around. Singer Zachary Lipez doesn’t carve his arms with broken bottles of Bud or assault the audience with his mic stand. He breaks down that fourth wall psychologically, whether it means stopping dead in his tracks and staring down the front row, or shouting out friends and foes by name.
For their latest offering, Raise Up The Sheets, Freshkills tapped ‘elegant degenerate’ Jim Sclavunos, the No Wave icon who performed with Sonic Youth, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and the Cramps before hopping behind the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ drum kit. Sclavunos: “Freshkills inhabit a dark but thrilling underworld in which relentless machine-like rhythmic intensity hammers ear-anvils at the bidding of wryly louche after-hours philosophy. They’re the visceral embodiment of power and poetry.”
Raise Up The Sheets attacks on every front like a pandemic. The songs are prettier, darker, more concise and more expansive. Lipez is wounded and acerbic, the rhythm section both tight and monstrous with military precision and vulgar swing, the twin guitars frantic, chaotic and dangerous as a sharpened screwdriver. The whole band sounds like they’ve been cornered and will have to fight their way out. It’s anyone’s guess who will win, but either way, it’ll be worth watching.
Freshkills has toured the US and UK, sharing the stage with acts like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sleigh Bells, TV On The Radio, …Trail of Dead and Mission of Burma.
“Taking its name from the vast old landfill in Staten Island, Freshkills, appropriately enough, injects a degree of trash rock into its post-punk hybrid. The band’s painstakingly constructed hooks put them at the top of the heap of late-eighties revivalists.” — The New Yorker
“I love this band because they remind me of the way I thought of New York before I lived here. It’s hard-hitting and infectious, but the frantic desperation is always palpable. It’s dark in that way.” — Vice Magazine
“Cool and crass, detached and desperate, dissonant and darkly sarcastic, the quintet specializes in a sound alternately slashing, hypnotic, urgent and controlled. They deliver both live and on vinyl (yes, vinyl), all without the benefit of anything resembling a guitar solo or a vocal harmony. They also have one of the best drummers in the business.” — The Deli