There’s still something to be said for word of mouth when it comes to discovering new music. While actually hearing music is the best way to decide whether or not you like it, it’s best to have some kind of impetus to get you to hear it in the first place. Be it a quest to find new music on your own or a scour through a music publication such as Treble, something has to direct you toward it. But if you’re the type to trust your peers about musical recommendations, word of mouth is most likely your first way of gaining access to bands you wouldn’t otherwise pay any attention to. Case in point: The Giraffes. Treble writer Chris Pacifico had been emailing me about this weird band I had never heard of, and I figured he might be on to something, but I never actually felt motivated enough to actually seek out the band’s work. After a few more mentions, he finally emails their record company to get them to send me a copy.
It turns out the motherfucker was on to something. The Giraffes are a very unusual band to hear today, amidst endless Gang of Four soundalikes and David Byrne imitators. While those are both fine and good, they get tiresome. But The Giraffes take from inspirations extremely far from post-punk. Some reviews have mentioned Soundgarden, Corrosion of Conformity and The Butthole Surfers, to name a few. And I can’t say that those are all that far off. But I would also mention Queens of the Stone Age and Alice in Chains.
Having recently delved into the heavier and more heroic entries in my music collection, I took to The Giraffes’ self-titled debut pretty quickly. It’s a throwback to a time when the line between “alternative” and “metal” was extremely blurry, for better or for worse. In the hands of many, this type of album could be dated and obnoxious. It could have even been outright terrible. But, luckily, The Giraffes rock adequately and with just enough of a smirk that their unholy ruckus is equally fun and menacing.
Mixing doo-wop vocals and Sabbath-y riffs in “Jr. At His Worst,” shredding on Slayer-style guitar licks in “Wage Earner,” veering into a boogie shuffle on “Sugarbomb” or revving up some Horton Heat-style psychobilly on “Million $ Man,” The Giraffes find many unique ways to rock on this fireball of a record. Frontman Aaron Lazar even sports a mighty moustache as well, one that even Lemmy might consider enviable, though Lazar doesn’t have any gnarly moles, as far as I can tell.
Sadly, I did not partake in the festivities at CMJ this year, though the word on the `net is that The Giraffes kicked some serious ass during their set at the giant New York festival. I imagine they’d be a sight to see. I’m not sure if I would like to see too many more bands like The Giraffes popping up, but that they exist makes us all the more fortunate. When more and more skinny kids learn how to play guitar like Andy Gill, it’s refreshing to know that somebody learned to play like Kim Thayil.
Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf
Burden Brothers – Buried in Your Black Heart
Monster Magnet – Dopes to Infinity
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.