"Dead City/Waste Wilderness" by Abe Vigoda
Proud veterans of The Smell, the not-for-profit L.A. venue/art space beloved for its vegan snacks, $5 covers, and inclusive ideology, tropical punks Abe Vigoda are fuzzy and tenuous in the vein of peers No Age or Mika Miko, peddling post-hardcore guitars and flat, muted vocals. But despite an obvious affinity for echo and murk, the Chino band's third LP, Skeleton, is surprisingly delicate, its punk rock bravado countered by an unexpected (and not unwelcome) fragility—as if the whole thing might just burst into shards if you dare to turn it up too loud. Mostly, Skeleton is jagged and weird: Opener "Dead City/Waste Wilderness," with its trilling, crooked guitars and nonstop cymbal crashes, is about as sweet as Abe Vigoda gets (see the nail-chewing dissonance of "The Garden," "World Heart," or "Endless Sleeper," which feels like a music box gone wrong). But if you can take the knocks, the band is at its finest when embracing discordance—listening to Skeleton can feel a little bit like getting whacked backwards by a wave, mouth full of sand, ears ringing, equilibrium gone, praying for light and air, and savoring the ride.