The beginning of illiterates, an Atlanta- and Los Angeles-based punk-rock band, went a little something like this: “Seeking bassist for loud, fast, extremely drunk rock & roll side project. Influences: Dead Boys, Dead Kennedys, Stooges, MC5, Mudhoney, early Replacements. Minimal time commitment. We have to really like hanging out with you. Also, no complaining or creative disagreements allowed. In fact, creativity is frowned upon. We favor pure adrenaline and enthusiasm over chops and interesting ideas. Have no songs yet, but we have a show booked.”
That was the tongue-and-cheek Facebook ad that started it all. A few years later, vocalist Steve Albertson, guitarist (and former Paste associate editor) Steve Labate and drummer Ryan Sloan are joined the bassist who answered the call, Jesse Cole, and they have songs now, too. In fact, the group has a new album out via Baby Robot Records on June 14, Goddamn Gun-Toting Junkie Camaro Enthusiasts (try saying that five times fast). The follow-up to last year’s Makeout Mountain, Goddamn promises all the same explosive energy with even more fuzz and garage influences. The next single from the record, “Violence is Golden,” is out today, and you can hear it first right here at Paste.
“Violence is Golden” isn’t anything fancy—it’s focused, angry and thrashing. It’s a quick fix at just a minute and a half long (though not as quick as 30-second single “God is E Flat”), but no less satisfying than previously released single “Time Bomb.” Channeling a Ramones-like wrath, Albertson lists off several ways violence can take shape in our society—physical, religious, political and otherwise.
“Violence is a reoccurring theme in my songs,” Albertson says. “I’m intrigued by it. I hate it. I’m excited by it. It’s something that shouldn’t exist in the world. From domestic violence all the way to global warfare, we’re all just killing ourselves in the end.”
The tune is a well-rounded example of the band’s first intention: to keep things real and raw.
“We’ve always wanted illiterates to be raw,” Labate said in a statement. “We force ourselves to keep things simple. If anyone’s ever overthinking a part, anyone else could throw up a veto and strip the idea down to its base layer. Recording totally analog with Ed and Justin was a reflection of that ethos. It was all about the feel of each take rather than capturing a perfect performance.”
Ed Rawls, who’s worked with other Atlanta vets like Black Lips and The Coathangers, produced the album, which was recorded locally at The Living Room.
Listen to “Violence is Golden” below and keep scrolling for the Goddamn Gun-Toting Junkie Camaro Enthusiasts album art.
Goddamn Gun-Toting Junkie Camaro Enthusiasts Album Art: