The Death Set: Worldwide
Everyone's attention span could use a break once in a while. If you've seen the Death Set in concert, you know just what we're talking about: 15 minutes, tops, of jumping around, climbing on shit--frontman Johnny Siera's like a little Tasmanian devil with an accent to fit--and microbursts of sorta anthemic, shrieked punk rock that takes a bit from the Minutemen and assorted early hardcore bands, stripping away the anger, adding programming and rap samples, leaving the whole thing, well, hip. There's a lot of this going around--No Age, Japanther, and the stack of CDs on our desk labeled yet more?--and for our money we'll take the Death Set.
Counter Records, the just-born rock imprint of downtempo electronic label NinjaTune, had the same idea and made of one its first releases this suitably brief document of the Baltimore-by-way-of-Australia-by-way-of-Tokyo-by-way-of-Brooklyn (maybe not in that order) outfit that really only gives a glimpse into the Death Set's best asset--live energy--but is still a fine sugar rush-cum-Ritalin bump of a record.
Unquestionably, Worldwide's jam is "Negative Thinking," which in and of itself could be a plague of hipster punk to neutralize half the Japanther catalog; the sing-along "I don't want to be like other people I like!" is a viral gem, and the programming and sample splicing are as clever as they are fun. "Around the World," just as catchy and participation-mandatory ("We go around the world and do what must be done!"), drops most of the guitar for synth, making for Worldwide's bloopiest, most lighthearted cut. "Pissed" might not be the right word, but songs like "Day in the Wife" (like Black Flag with a prepubescent Henry Rollins) and "Intermission" ("We're the motherfucking Death Set!") find Siera in full-on shriek mode, and you can kinda see why its live shows are so brief.