Here in New Orleans it’s carnival time. Nearly every night this week there are parades all over the city. Once you’ve been to enough of these parades, they lose a lot of their appeal, and as that happens your focus draws away from the flashy floats and the beads flying through the air and towards one of the most underappreciated facets of New Orleans culture: the high school marching bands. The New Orleans tradition of small brass ensembles have been slowly getting more of their due, but these marching bands don’t cut albums and are rarely experienced outside of carnival.
You see, these marching bands don’t play pleasant Sousa ditties. This isn’t high school orchestra made mobile. These bands play music for battle, the very distillation of organized chaos. The drums are meant to pound your gut and the brass section screams, and they do it in overwhelming numbers to simply knock you down with noise.
I bring this up because I get that same hair-raising feeling from Bande de los Apaches. Their lo-fi din obscures their numbers and just makes loud and proud noise. Their opener “Now Go Have Fun” swells and intimidates just like these marching bands, and the brass (saxophone and trumpet) cries out in just the same way.
This isn’t a marching band/surf band hybrid — they’re solidly within familiar surf territory despite the trebly lo-fi sound and even run through a few of the common tropes: “El Composito Rojo” feels like a Las Vegas Grind tracks at double-speed, “Tennessee Kid” follows a bit more of a surf structure, and they end with “Gold White Buffalo” in the Wild West. But they never take it easy. Every track sounds like a life or death situation.
So far this band has never disappointed and has delivered some of the most furious sounds of any band today. However, much like their previous self-titled release, it’s over much too quickly. To call this an LP would be generous. 3 of the 10 tracks are skits less than 1 minute and one track was previously released as a single. It’s priced accordingly, but I just want more!