Culture Abuse - Bay Dream (Album Stream)

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Charming their way onto the roster of legendary punk imprint Epitaph Records, freewheeling San Francisco quintet Culture Abuse cloak some keen songwriting under a facade of big dumb summer fun on their strong sophomore outing, Bay Dream. With their fusion of slacker rock, garage punk, and fuzzy grunge, they somehow turn goofball exercises like "Bee Kind to the Bugs," "S'Why," and "Dave's Not Here (I Got the Stuff Man)" into surprisingly enjoyable nuggets of West Coast pop that, at times, echo the simplistic appeal of the Ramones and the hooky melodicism of fellow Californians like Rooney or Weezer. Working with producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, M83), they've tightened up their sound and mellowed some of the more hardcore elements that were prevalent on their 2016 debut, Peach. In the vision of frontman and chief songwriter David Kelling, they have a charismatic voice to tell their tales of feeling good, feeling bad, moving on, and smoking weed. More often than not, Kelling's songs have an odd tenderness, with many of them inspired by his move to Los Angeles, making Bay Dream feel like a kind of love letter to his native Northern California home. At first glance, it's easy to underestimate Culture Abuse for the part-time slackers they present themselves to be, but there's a lot more to them than meets the eye on this satisfying second effort.


Heralded for their rousing mash-up of hardcore, melodic garage punk, grunge, and slacker indie, Culture Abuse rose from scrappy Bay Area beginnings to notching a deal with the legendary Epitaph imprint, thanks in part to their 2016 debut, which scored highly among both critics and fans. With a freewheeling ethos hell-bent on disregarding genre tropes, Culture Abuse have carried their do-what-they-want, when-they-want model to impressive heights.

Formed in San Francisco in late 2013 by frontman David Kelling, guitarists Nick Bruder and John McCarthy, bassist Shane Plitt, and drummer Evan Pierce, Culture Abuse made their first official recorded entry with 2014's Spray Paint the Dog, a two-song 7" release for West Coast indie 6131 Records. Two years later, they delivered their first full-length, Peach, for the same label, and found their exposure rapidly increasing thanks to the key single "Dream On." Signing with Epitaph, the quintet paired up with producer Carlos de la Garza (Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, M83), emerging in the summer of 2018 with the sophomore set Bay Dream.
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