Nowadays when you think of "punk rock", you think leather jackets and mohawks and loud guitar rock. But it wasn't always like that. Early bands under the punk banner did lots of different things: Pere Ubu used odd electronics, X-Ray Spex had saxophone, etc.
I mention this because Why The Wires are an old school punk band. This is loud, angry music with clashing guitars and saxophone! Yeah.
Vocalist and guitarist Dave Nutt (i wonder if Nutt is a real last name or a stage name) has a gravelly voice like that of Tim Armstrong or Joe Strummer. This gives a very classic punk feel to the proceedings. And then saxophonist / accordionist (!!!) Kevin Dossinger adds just a little bit of chaotic flair.
The band is from Ithaca, NY and have apparently been at this since 2008. Flame Failures is their third album, and my introduction to the band.
The record kicks off with noisy guitars grinding away while the vocals scream, then the drums come in and it becomes a riff fest. The tune is called Hello Nurse and it grinds long with a nice melody in such a furious tune, and the sax over all of it.
Crashed Home is a less than 2-minute riff fest, the drummer really going at it as the guitars clang. Punchlist is slower, moodier, more post- thank just punk. The guitars see saw as the rhythm clangs along like something from June of 44. It's catchy though, and it's not really easy to make these kind of odd stop/start rhythms catchy.
The next tune is called Daycrawlers, and it appears to be their theme song with them screaming "Red White, why do the wires?" It's a gloriously messy tune, and i like the way the sax and the guitars interplay with the group screaming.
Seizure Party starts off as ambient jazz with sax, Dossinger just going for it, and then a weird punk tune explodes around what he is doing. This is where the oddness of late era Fugazi and the strange sounds of Q and not U come into their punk rock. I think they pull it off pretty well. The Arm Will Lead the Way is similar in that it has a noodling intro before the descent into post-punk. I like that Nutt ominously sings, "Find yourself in The Garden State", and somehow implies the uncomfortableness of being in New Jersey.
Paperbark Boston is a good, gridding punk tune. I love the sax bit that layers over the riffing guitar.
Service Animal is mid-tempoed punk rock. The excellently titled Jesuser is another short interlude with sax and clattering drums. And then finally the records ends with Tolls. Dossinger starts this off with an accordion drone, then the band comes in with a swinging little melody. This is a really catchy end to the record.
I really like this. Why the Wires do good work with noisy, odd post-punk. You should probably check this out.