Released in November 2022 with no hint of promotion, this surprise split release from Get The Fuck Outta Dodge and Das Kapitans is a treat for fans of either band. With a shared label and a shared goal in terms of noise-making, these musical friends have much in common, but scratch beneath the surface and it’s obvious that each band comes with their own very clear musical identity. Das Kapitans mix punk with a lot of very 90s indie rock influences, whilst Dodge play a particularly ferocious brand of lo-fi hardcore. On this split, they’ve chosen to record each others’ material, leading to an experiment that captures both acts in a typically raw mood, but at the same time, adds something new to their world of noise.

Das Kapitans’ take on the Dodge material is particularly interesting as it forces them to apply a little more speed. They’ve played punky tunes in the past – their ‘Ten’ release is full of ’em – but you won’t often get to hear them approaching anything with quite as much ferocity as they do here. ‘Original Pioneers of Justice’ retains its gruff, almost spoken vocal, with Stephen Potter’s distorted voice spitting angry syllables throughout, but beyond that, it has a very different tone to the original cut. As half expected, the addition of guitar pushes the track into more of a melodic hardcore direction – with hints of US bands like Quicksand and Fugazi – and that really fleshes out a great sound during what passes as a chorus. The extra instrumentation never detracts from the fury, and as such the drums clatter with a hard edged garage rock quality and, for those familiar with the Dodge recording, the eventual marriage of semi-shouted lyric and buzzing riffs will certainly supply those all important musical thrills.

A real highlight, ‘Some Basses Are Better Than Others’ is drastically reworked from its distorto-bass origins and shaped into a short and sharp art-punk number where the Kapitans’ love of Sonic Youth really comes through. The guitar riffs lay down a massive blanket of noise, not too far removed from many of the speed driven, whirring noises associated with Lee Ranaldo, over which, a heavily treated vocal feels a little detached. Adding a dual voice, the sound becomes much fuller and by the time the main refrain appears the second time, everything begins to feel like a sketch for a Das deep cut, before ‘Quick, Get To The Yacht’ teases with wordless vocals and a discordant guitar sound. Eventually, the band breaks into something that’s a great take on a Dodge classic, but as before, the extra vocals and guitars lend the performance a greater depth, without losing any of the all important rawness.

Get The Fuck Outta Dodge have chosen four supercharged numbers from the Das Kapitans catalogue – three of which, to the untrained ear, could easily pass as their own. For the fans, this’ll still be a treat, of course, especially with ‘Jason’ crashing forth with a massive distorted bass, and a dual shouting vocal where Ren’s distinctive yelp drowns out some of James’s best efforts. The bulk of this full on minute represents classic Dodge, especially when intermittent “quieter” moments push a world of crashing cymbals to the fore, and there’s still time enough for their world of noise to trail off into feedback. Similarly, the bass heavy ‘Gobshite’ brings out the best in the Dodge bass grooves when a seriously overdriven sound underscores more shouting. The repetitive groove is well handed by James, and with a few higher pitched noises covering the main melody and an unexpected world of electronic treatments filling an instrumental break, this gives an extra dimension to the typical Dodge sound, and ‘Another Day’ could easily have been culled from their ‘…Not Our Fault’ LP with a more complex, higher toned bass joined by a full compliment of spiky vocals. It doesn’t do anything especially smart, but in terms of presenting a tight riff played at full volume, it’s pretty bloody super.

Most unexpected, though, is a recording of ‘All Falls Up’, which GTFOD play as faithfully as they’re able. The addition of a high toned bass during the intro actually sounds more guitar-like, and shifts everything into a 90s punk scenario as the duo pummel a riff that sounds like a Lagwagon oldie, before sliding into a verse where the more familiar bass and distorto-vocal takes over. Forced to slow down a little, this gives a broader look into Dodge’s musical talents, and James sounds comfortable taking a noisy indie rock vocal melody forward, while Ren adds sever catchy whoahs en route. In terms of entertainment, aside from more distortion – especially on the voice – it isn’t markedly different from the Das K original, but it is very different for Dodge, and that alone makes it an important addition to their catalogue.

This is seriously great. It supplies fans with more top notch material from both bands, but also shows them branching out. This release is not just a celebration of punk and of Socks On Records – a not for profit label with a very old school DIY approach – it’s a celebration of friendship. And with the love that’s clearly shown for each others’ work here, in many ways, that’s the most important factor.

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November 2022