Published Jun 10, 2009Whatever genius started calling bands like this "Midwestern beer-belly despair rock" deserves a medal for being so disturbingly accurate. Hailing from Grand Rapids, MI, this trio of Small Brown Bike-loving dudes have produced what will easily be remembered as a classic in the No Idea catalogue, which is no small feat given that the damn thing is filled to the gills with classics. Light years ahead of Truth Is Menace, the band's first full-length, Midwestern Blood soaks up all the influences of the band's idols without wallowing in it; you can hear the sound of three guys who love Jawbreaker and Samiam without actually hearing perfect echoes of either band. And on songs like "The Weight of the World," North Lincoln sound ready to define their niche of gruff-voiced punk rock. Surprisingly, the band are at their best when they're at their wimpiest, like on powerfully melodic epic closer "Siblings," a still-driving but comparatively understated track when compared to the aggression of songs like "No Turning Back." Being chubby and sad never sounded so awesome.
Grand Rapids being primarily a university town, is there a high turnover rate in the scene that makes being in a band more difficult?
Vocalist and guitarist Kevin Nunn: We have five main colleges, so there is a lot of turnover. But the Grand Rapids scene is awesome. The weird thing is that in any style, be it punk, indie, ska, or hardcore, there are one or two bands that are really good at it, one or two bands playing in a certain niche. There aren't multiple bands that sound alike. For a while, the only bands that had made it out and toured were Mustard Plug and North Lincoln, but now there's a ton of bands out on the road, touring and getting their names out there.
There's a huge difference between the sound of this record and Truth is Menace. Where did that come from?
People always ask us, "What happened to you guys?" The records are night and day. At the time, we just had a lot of bad shit going on, bad blood between friends. We weren't getting along that well as a band, and a lot of those songs are about our relationships as a band. It was our therapy. (No Idea)