L.A. Drugz commemorates ‘Outside Place’ EP after 10 years

L.A. Drugz commemorates ‘Outside Place’ EP after 10 years

Who says punk is dead?! Certainly not the city of Los Angeles, home of garage rock and skate punk band L.A. Drugz (and, well, drugz in general… in all honesty). This power pop supergroup was birthed from the ashes of Clorox Girls in 2010, when frontman Justin Maurer joined forces with James Carman (of Maniac, Telephone Lovers, The Reflectors, Images), Cezar Mora (of Bad Machine), and Johnny “JD” Reyes (of Images, Bad Machine).

Power chords, fast beats… just bring the beer and the skateboard.

Indeed, L.A. Drugz’s breakout EP, Outside Place, shoots up the same vein as the short, fast-paced punk songs of the 70s; the stripped down, lick-heavy, beat-forward, pure punk rock reminiscent of The Buzzcocks, The Ramones, et. Al… you know, the good shit.

Originally produced by the band and released via Hovercraft Records, Outside Place is already a decade old — yet timeless all the same. With the title track bursting into your earholes with unrelenting pop bravado, the band gets heads banging from the get-go, leading listeners out of their element (and apparently towards the “human race”…?). Although we, as L.A. Drugz fans, “belong” at this ambiguous destination, Maurer is still nice enough to ask us if we actually want “to go”. The band can take us if we want. Or not. Indifference is key to punk rock.

Which leads us to vampires.

Maurer purports that all he wanted was love, but all he got “is a vampire”. With the original EP released in 2013, when Twilight was at its peak, I do not find this surprising. Punkers and goth kids definitely played heavy into the vamp scene at the time. Regardless, no one should suffer love unrequited — not even in Hollyweird.

The six-track EP hits a mid-point with “All the Time”: another love track that, once again, does not really work out for Maurer, “always waiting” and “sitting alone”. Despite how much that sucks, the harmonized vocals are sweet — an element that leaks into “Marina”. If you made it this far in the EP, you already know that Marina is the notorious, tempestuous, and allegedly time-challenged vamp girl playing with Maurer’s heart. With a classic power pop melody, this surf rock-meets-rockabilly ballad isn’t necessarily the end of the love story, nor is it a new beginning… Marina sounds like a piece of work.

Now, no punk rock band can release a record without the “screw you mom and dad”, sociopolitical, yet simultaneously apathetic ethos, which leads us to “Ooh Ooh Ooh”. “I was supposed to be dead by 27,” croons Maurer, sounding as surprised as he is perplexed. All the good ones go at 27… but luckily L.A. Drugz lives on. The EP then concludes with a “run away from home” song entitled “On the Streets”, leaving listeners winded by the end.

And, to commemorate 10 years, ‘Outside Place’ is getting a reissue.

Out officially June 12th, still via Hovercraft Records, Outside Place is available on a neon orange 33″ (although set your machines to 45… it’s an EP, dumb dumb). Considering the warm way 70s punk and garage rock sounds on vinyl, make sure to grab yours while supplies last here. The boys are pushing the title track further with a Repo Man-inspired music video, which you can enjoy below! With summer upon us, we can’t think of a better time to get all hopped up on L.A. Drugz.

Photo Credit: Emilio Venegas Jr.

Track listing:

  1. Outside Place
  2. Vampire
  3. All The Time
  4. Marina
  5. Ooh Ooh Ooh
  6. On the Streets

L.A. Drugz – “Outside Place”

Cover photo by Emilio Venegas Jr.

Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

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Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.

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