Independent Record Label | Est. 2009
Wilmington, North Carolina



Thursday, June 13, 2024

Pressing Concerns: Blab School

[Repost from Rosy Overdrive; June 6, 2024]

Blab School – Blab School

Release date: June 6th
Record label: Fort Lowell/Clearly
Genre: Punk rock, post-punk, noise rock, 90s indie rock
Formats: Vinyl, digital
Pull Track: Small Simple Ways

Blab School are a new band formed by four longtime North Carolina indie rockers in guitarist/vocalists Ryan Seagrist (Discount, The Kitchen) and Lizzie Killian (Glowing Stars, Teens in Trouble), drummer Dave Cantwell (Analogue, Cold Sides, In the Year of the Pig), and bassist Fikri Yucel (Veronique Diabolique). The band formed via a Craigslist ad in Durham, but Cantwell has since moved to Carolina Beach–however, rather than slowing things down, Blab School remain quite active, and their drummer’s relocation even led to their self-titled debut album coming out via Cantwell’s new neighbors, Wilmington’s Fort Lowell Records (Kicking Bird, Common Thread, James Sardone). Blab School’s members come from all sorts of musical backgrounds, but the eight-song Blab School (recorded in Yucel’s living room by Nick Petersen) has a meaty, tough, unified sound that straddles the line between “punk” and “post-punk”. Underground rock movements like Dischord-ish limber post-hardcore/post-punk and Albini-recorded noise rock/punk come to mind in places, while in others Blab School sounds straight out of the early 1980s.

Blab School kicks off in overdrive via the pounding, almost-emo punk rock of “Small Simple Ways” that reminds me a little bit of classic Jawbreaker, but the quartet then swerve into “Scrolls”, a dark, guitar-forward post-punk tune in the vein of Killing Joke or early Siouxsie & The Banshees. At twenty-two minutes, Blab School is a record with absolutely no room for excess or embellishment–the band sound driven and laser-focused for its entire length. Whether that’s the retro, almost garage-y punk of “Quit Yr Job”, the massive slab of alt-rock of “Never Enough”, or the Kill Rock Stars-y emotional spikiness of “Will I Ever?”, Blab School remains captivating into the middle of the record, and they even explore a bit of new territory towards the album’s end. The four-minute “Rhizome” and its hammering, wall-of-sound punk rock and final song “(Don’t Forget to) Give Up”, which incorporates a bit of Touch & Go noise-punk ugliness, are two of Blab School’s heaviest moments, both of which help the record start circling the drain as it begins to sign off. Judging by their opening statement, Blab School are the best kind of “new veteran band”–one that draws from the wealth of music its members have made in the past, but all in the service of a unified, coherent sound. (Bandcamp link)