Video – The Entertainers

Sure, Jack White’s Third Man Records may be a hair late to the garage-punk party. But its recent push to promote underground grime paid off big October 30th when the label issued new long players by Detroit weirdos Timmy’s Organism and Wolf Eyes and Texas punks Video.

The latter group is part of a massive family tree of Denton and Austin acts with direct ties to modern legends the Marked Men. Video front man Daniel Fried plays in Marked Men spinoffs Mind Spiders and Radioactivity. He’s also performed with Bad Sports and the Wax Museums, so his own musical lineage crosses paths with members of OBN IIIs, A Giant Dog, and numerous other Texas punk fixtures.

These Texas band’s similarities are not a weak point. To an extent, you know what you’ll get if Fried or one of his comrades is involved in a new release. Each of these records throw in a few wrinkles, though, keeping the Denton sound fresh and allowing the songwriters room for creativity.

Video’s Third Man debut, The Entertainers, is a brasher take on the time-tested Marked Men formula. Opening track “New Immortals” is four minutes of rocker dude bravado that boldly starts with the line “There is no god that can save me.” Tracks like “Drink It In” and “Nothing Lasts Forever” maintain this tough as nails vibe without a hint of posturing. Both are reminiscent of that darker take on Dickies-style pop perfected by the late Jay Reatard – something else that’s often recycled by artists willing and able to put their own spin on a proven formula.

The swirling walls of sound on “Never Enough” and “Out of My Hands” brings an even more ominous feeling to the table. Folks who shit on anything labeled “garage” might just be impressed. To be fair, those who thought whole garage thing became oversaturated a couple of years ago were right. Fortunately, the bands that stand tall as we enter 2016 and get the rub from Third Man and Merge’s newfound interest in the sub-genre are still crushing it.

If everything that precedes it is too harsh for your liking, “The End of it All” might necessitate therapy. It’s six minutes of slowed down (by Video standards) post-punk doom and gloom. It’s quite the tempo shifting curveball on an album that for the most part is driven by high octane rock ’n’ roll.

Overall, Video’s new long-player is a solid argument in favor of Third Man’s embracing of rock ’n’ roll’s seedy underbelly. The three-release blast was branded “Audio Social Dissent,” which at first glance is corny as all get-out. This album, and the two by Detroit punks, really are outside-the-box music that’s getting a well-deserved promotional push by Mr. White.

The Entertainers
[Third Man]