Though the release of Double Death marks the official end of the Coachwhips, this anthology furthers the one opinion I’ve always had about the band: it’s fucking loud. No matter the context, the Coachwhips’ music rushes out of the speakers with more obnoxious abandon and anything else I’d ever heard.
Grittier than garage rock and dirtier than any of the indie-rockabilly rip-offs out there, it’s true that most of the Coachwhips’ songs sound very similar. There are simple rules: loud, fast, and real. Bangers Vs. Fuckers (2004) was the band’s best album, and the CD/DVD Double Death features B-sides and cover songs (Adam And, Horrors, Kinks) that you probably haven’t heard before as well as concert footage. Mastermind John Dwyer is detached, possessed by the madness he creates when you give him a guitar and a microphone wired through a phone receiver.
Even the DVD’s photo slideshow is scored by Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” where the lyrics to keep on dancing or break out the booze take on a whole new meaning. It’s genius through hilarity. Dwyer is a madman, and he brings it out in all of us. The “holy shit” bit on the DVD shows him unable to stand still, pacing around a large bar, until someone comes up and drunkenly takes the mike. The drummer pummels the drunk, Dwyer keeps playing, looking on with wide-eyed approval. Jumping off the drum kit, he joins in on the fight and finishes off the song by whacking the drunk over the head with his instrument. While he’s busy being pulled away, fists still out and ready, a random kid from the audience picks up the guitar and wails until he feels the song has ended. It’s a perfect example of the chaos inflicted on the Coachwhips’ fans. Double Death is twenty-five tracks crammed onto one disc, and at that length it’s harder than any rock record you’re listening to right now and more painful than any low-budget harder-faster-louder noise you could put yourself through for a solid forty-seven minutes.
Though Double Death appears to be the release to own if you’ve never gotten your hands on the Coachwhips, it falls short of encompassing the prior records. Hands on the Controls and Bangers vs. Fuckers are just as necessary as the visual accompaniment and rarity collection of Double Death. Though it doesn’t encapsulate the band’s short-lived, sucks-if-you-missed-it existence, it’s exciting to wonder what John Dwyer will do next.
“Hope you guys like these rare and unreleased gems,” he writes in Double Death‘s liners. “Now we can all move on and actually listen to good stuff.
Love, the Coachwhips
P.S. You’re cute.”
MP3: “I Made A Bomb” from Peanut Butter & Jelly, Live At The Ginger Minge