How to capsulate the sound of Plax? They’re a mix of punk, post-punk, and garage. They feature members from OBN IIIs, Spray Paint, and Skeleton, so those influences seep in. You could compare them to Institute, who I do like, but Plax is much better. The songs are largely mid tempo with some jangly guitars, a propulsive bass, and drummer who knows there’s power being economical. “What a Waste” is a killer among killers that takes off right out the gate with the bass up in the mix, pushing the whole affair forward. “Mistake” is somewhat similar, and just as good. I like the confrontational tone of “Location,” but it’s the closer, “Mold,” that has me singing the praises of Plax. It’s a drawn-out song that is heavy in atmosphere. The guitar work is a-f’n number one primo. Great record! –Matt Average (Super Secret, supersecretrecords.com)
Coming out on the Super Secret label (Austin, TX) I had a feeling this’d be some gnarly, over the top stuff and it certainly is. Apparently the band is a supergroup of sorts (I hope someone thinks up another word for a supergroup someday…..I’m gonna head down to the lab and work on it myself) and have been together a little over a year. The solid lineup is Victor from Skeleton and Nosferatu, Michael and Marley from OBN IIIs (Marley is also in Sweet Talk), Chris from Spray Paint and Dikes of Holland and not sure if these four were born in the same hospital at the same time or not but they seem like they’ve been playing together longer than Jagger n’ Richards (Charlie too, can’t leave out Charlie). The songs are what matter here and Clean Feeling is full of the kinda music meant to be played while driving while blindfolded, chasing the cat around the house with the chain saw or driving a golf cart off a cliff. You know you’re gonna get hurt real bad (or worse) so you might as well have fun while doing it. Cut like “Boring Story,” “In a Web,” “Mistake” and “What a Waste” seem to hit that sweet spot right where Solger, the Pagans and the Germs all collide Oh, also vocalist Victor seems like the kinda guy you don’t want to have to deliver any bad news too (and if you do have to make sure you’re inside of a car (and he’s on the outside) so you can put the pedal to the metal and scram before he loses his shit). The name of the band is from the gunk that gets caked on your teeth. Ok, review over, I need a fresh glass of prune juice. I love Plax. www.supersecretrecords.com
Who: Austin-based quasi-punk band comprised of members of Spray Paint, OBN IIIs, Skeleton and Sweet Talk.
Sound: Clean Feeling may be the best indie-punk album of 2017. Twitchy and heavy in perfect doses.
TFN Final Take: Last year I fell head over heels in love with Austin’s Spray Paint. I started with their 2016 release, Feel the Clamps, and then worked my way through their catalog of no-wave punk. When I saw that PLAX had a former member of Spray Paint, I had to listen. Once song was all it took. I was hooked.
PLAX’s sound is quite dissimilar from Spray Paint. Clean Feeling is spastic and a bit disjointed too, but is a more of a straightforward hardcore/punk sound than Spray Paint. This album is 10 tracks of fast-paced power punk rhythms and unexpected shifts. Singer Victor Ziolkowski’s voice bears a striking similarity to Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage raspy delivery.
Mix those gruff vocals with the furious punk rock rampage and a pinch of unconventional shifts and arrangements and you have a brilliant and insanely catchy LP that soars and never bores. Nine of the 10 tracks clock in under 2 minutes and 30 seconds with the exception being the last track, “Mold.” “Mold” is 7 minutes of pure heaven. A nasty and fidgety rhythm dappled with snarling and anguished vocals all tied together underlying layer of cool synth. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been blasting this on my iPod and as soon as the track finishes, I play it again.
A few weeks ago I thought the debut of the year was a lock with Dove Lady’s album One. Now I am not too sure. Clean Feeling is about as good as you can get.
Plax is a new Austin band that shares members with a few veterans of the local punk underground: OBN III’s, Spray Paint, Dikes of Holland, and more. Their debut album, Clean Feeling, sounds lived-in too, despite the band’s young age. Singer Victor Ziolkowski–who can also be seen playing drums with Austin rockabilly queen Rosie Flores–is a gravel-throated force at the center of the Plax’s tightly-coiled songs. Despite the punk pedigree, Plax is a sharper band instead of an overwhelming one. “Boring Story” is quick and incisive, scratchy and catchy. It has the sound of a young band that knows exactly what it wants to do.
“Boring Story” appears on Clean Feeling, out now via Austin’s Super Secret Records.
–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX
Clean Feeling (Super Secret)
REVIEWED BY LIBBY WEBSTER, FRI., SEPT. 1, 2017
Playing like a mess of raw knuckles, bloody lips, and bruised, broken noses, the debut from Austin punks Plax seethes with wounded aggression. A restless thrashing that times out under a half-hour, Clean Feeling is predominantly confrontational. Victor Ziolkowski more often than not screams at a “you,” his hoarse bark commonplace in the local quartet’s sinister world, even-keeled and monotone in its combative consistency. Steely and unwavering, his narrator serves as a foothold as the instrumentation explodes into chaos around him.
No song here reaches the three-minute mark save for seven-minute closer “Mold,” infusing the album with a brash, heightened intensity. Both “In a Web” and “Mistake” skew inward, the former riddled by anxiety and tangled in doubt, steered by a drumbeat like fists beating into your skull. “Mistake” wanders down the same path, getting one last fix for a chronicler who’s self-aware enough to loathe himself while doing it. “Location” features truly brutal drumming courtesy of Marley Jones from OBN IIIs, while Spray Paint’s Chris Stephenson brings signature unease to his angular guitar. OBN IIIs’ Michael Goodwin totes thrumming, punching basslines.
On the pulsating “Black and White,” a mere 50-second track bursting through the middle of the disc, the vocals remain steadfast in pacing, discernible and unrushed amidst a rapid, propulsive mania, which contrasts to “1×1” veering away from the breakneck pace of Clean Feeling, instead stopping and starting, slowly slogging forward as machinery beeps and whirrs to fill out the song.
“Each breath I take disappears,” insists Ziolkowski as the tense, gritty guitars and buzzing slowly overtake his voice.
by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
For all of Austin’s new condos and gentrification, the triumphant layer of filth that seems to permeate Austin’s punk scene can’t be stopped. The live music capital spends a lot of time in the gutter, with a never ending stream of reckless punk bands that mine tingling aggression with a flat out contempt for the culture springing up around them. With so many great bands in a relatively small scene, collaboration is inevitable, and rising up from the grime like a dirty punk phoenix comes Plax, a new band formed from members of Spray Paint, OBN IIIs, and Skeleton (among others). The band’s debut album Clean Feeling is anything but; a hard wound and bruising rush of seasick proto-punk and lo-fi brawn.
Built around staggering post-punk rhythms that twist and turn in tight zig-zagging shifts, Plax’s debut is a rallying call, a brash and unforgiving record of scathing distortion and bleak sentiment. Forgoing nuance in favor of impenetrable outsider intensity, the band balance brainy tangled chord progressions with near spoken shouts. The music of Clean Feeling is convulsive if not hypnotic on songs like “Night Watch” and the primal dirge of “1X1”. Plax shift toward the combustible and propulsive on “What A Waste” and “Location,” a venomous song that urges you to “choose a side” amid a stampeding rhythm and steadily melting tempos. Clean Feeling is post-punk’s rotten core, a record that spits and shouts in the name of all that’s disdainful.
Plax’s Clean Feeling is out August 11th via Super Secret Records.