Cheers to Cactus's for forcing anal journalists everywhere into a grammatical quandary. The band's name already has a possessive apostrophe in it, so what to write if I want to describe its ownership of some attribute? "Cactus's's?" Fuckit, why not? I set my own rules in the blogosphere -- may as well be the place to start the punctuational revolution. That maddening name (could they have meant it as the plural of cactus, but forgot that "cacti" exists?) is just one of the unexpected joys of Cactus's's debut EP, Tropical Terror. There's also the band's Nashville provenance, which you would never guess from Tropical Terror's froth of wiry Dischord post-hardcore and midwestern emo. No twang on this EP, but plenty of explode, groove and bash.
Asher Rogers's guitar lashes out in open punk chords then coils in tense Fugazi chugs in "Where Is My Skeleton." Vocals shriek and quiver like At the Drive In's, melodic and nervous on "Daddy" and "Purple Coyote," and sprinkled with screams that sound like their screamers are on fire. Like their influences, Cactus's are all about rhythm, and the entire EP is one big case of electric shaken baby syndrome. Jru Frasier (formerly of Korea's Unroot) is my favorite kind of rock drummer -- he plays 4/4 beats hard and precise and finds time to peel out creative syncopations and fills that keep pushing the song forward. Frasier sounds like a hardcore Stewart Copeland on "Queen Bee," backing guitars that verge on speed metal during the verses. This kind of crafty, charismatic noise rock soundtracked my college years thanks to bands like Bear Vs. Shark and Q and Not U, and it's awesome to hear the sound being carried on so well. Even if the most revolutionary thing about Cactus's is their name.
Get possessive at Cactus's's MySpace page. You can currently stream five out of 6 songs from this EP there.