Piss Rock That’s too Good to Flush: a Listen to “Slugger” by Illicit Nature
As someone who grew up playing and attending punk shows in dimly lit, indescribably stained DIY venues in the Utah suburbs, the ballistic sounds of self-described “piss rock” band Illicit Nature, hailing from Boise, Idaho, feels like returning to a chaotic yet comfortingly nostalgic home. It’s the kind of punk that makes me desperately miss being launched into already-broken coffee tables and couches. “Slugger” rips with galloping drums and frenzied, screaming riffs. Upon first listen, I immediately recalled early AFI. I know what you’re thinking, reader. “What the fuck do you mean, Indigo? AFI isn’t piss rock, and it barely even qualifies as punk.” Well, reader, I’d then challenge you to take a listen to AFI’s 1996 album, Very Proud of Ya and report back to me. Illicit Nature really captures that bitchy, confident vibe of 90s punk while still sounding fresh and enthusiastic.
“Slugger” opens with the rollicking “Classical Goes Neoclassical”. Usually, punk isn’t noted for nice production, but I found the production throughout to be punchy, substantial, and overall great sounding while still retaining that low-mid heavy, blurry sound that punk listeners know and love. In “Blue Mystic” there’s a taunting, saturated “OOOooooOOOOOOoooouhhh” that I absolutely loved. Another stand-out element are the driving, prominent basslines. Foundational, thick bass is what distinguishes the okay punk songs from the ones that you can really throw down to. “Slugger” has a wonderfully bratty sound which is tempered by straightforward sincerity. There are elements of anti-authoritarianism, comments on drug use and misuse, and fun anecdotes about the thrill of letting loose at a great show. All in all, it’s pretty standard, good punk. Picky, loud guitar solos, chunky rhythm guitar, warm bass, crispy drums, and liberal amounts of yelling.
Illicit Nature has many more projects planned, one of which is some music appearing in a video game, so keep your eyes peeled!
You can support Illicit Nature on Bandcamp here: https://illicitnature.bandcamp.com/album/slugger
And here’s Illicit Nature’s Linktree, where you can find their merch, various streaming links, and more: https://linktr.ee/illicitnature