FIDLAR is known for their edgy sound and high-energy performances. It was unfortunate that they played at the same time The Black Lips performed at Shaky Knees this summer. Both bands have very similar sounds, and it was hard for my friend and I to choose between the two. However, Vinyl Mag had previously interviewed The Black Lips at SXSW in 2014, and I wanted to see what their performance was really like. I think the heat was too heavy for anyone to do any proper moshing; nevertheless, The Black Lips came through with their typical punk sound. I imagine FIDLAR would’ve played out similarly. In fact, their video for “West Coast,” from their most recent album, Too, shows some behind the scenes footage of the band, complete with bathroom tattoos, kicks to the face and partial nudity.
In 2013, FIDLAR released their debut, self-titled album with Mom & Pop. The band members have history with the punk scene; members, Elvis and Greg Kuehn’s father was a guitarist for the punk band T. S. O. L. FIDLAR released their newest album, Too, this month. Edgy vocals and raw lyrics give the album that signature punk sound. However, this album seems to experiment with genres like indie and garage rock, instead of the inherent screaming commonly associated with the punk genre. The album opens with “40oz On Repeat,” in which there is a stark verse change from FIDLAR’s typical sound to a simple, softer melody. The video gives the melody context. Elvis dresses up as multiple pop icons to parody musicians’ tendency to express their seemingly trivial problems. Elvis is quite the actor and his performance (especially his rendition of Britney Spears) is hilarious. The video appears homemade, as does “Leave Me Alone,” in which an entire roll of toilet paper is used to display the song’s lyrics.
The punk genre is one that has evolved since its genesis, constantly incorporating similar genres such as classic rock and metal. What remains constant is the genre’s effect on its audience members. The band and their audiences are tight-knit groups. It is not uncommon for punk bands to play in small venues without a stage or for band members to get involved in the mosh pit along with their fans. The genre is highly sensational. Just as Father John Misty can drive us to tears, punk bands like FIDLAR and The Black Lips can drive us to anarchy, yet audience members still leave the venue as friends and wake up in the morning laughing at the night’s escapades.