Washington State, where I live, is kind of two, distinct states, separated by the Cascade Mountains that run north to south. The western part of the state, where Seattle is located, tends to be much more liberal and left leaning; the eastern part more rural and conservative. That is, of course, an oversimplification – there are plenty of rural (and conservative) areas west of the mountains too, but since most of the population is crammed into a strip along the Puget Sound, it’s sort of the way things are looked at around here when it comes to things like politics (left versus right) and tastes in four wheel drive vehicles (fancy SUVs versus practical trucks).
The Makers are from the other side of the state, the eastern part, home of long, straight stretches of highway, hot summers, and snowy winters. And there, almost at the Idaho border, sits the largest city “east of the mountains,” Spokane. The city that spawned The Makers. And that is something we should thank the Lilac City for. Wait. Spokane is the “Lilac City”? Really? Not very punk rock…
Fortunately The Makers were able to get past their home town’s unfortunate official nickname, because there’s nothing flowery about their music, unless those flowers were spray painted on the wall of a decrepit building somewhere. This is garage punk, and don’t you forget it. The Makers (1995) has sixteen songs, 11 of which clock in at two minutes or less and none longer than 2:35. The guitars are muddy, the vocals audibly sneering and nasal. It’s lo-fi. It’s raw. The album cover is literally flipping you off. It’s excellent.
This may seem like an odd comparison, but The Makers actually sound to me a lot like a lo-fi, punk version of the band Jet (think “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”), though to be fair since The Makers came first maybe Jet is just a polished, radio friendly version of them.
The Makers bring it, and they bring it fast in Ramones style (early on all members of the band took on the last name Maker, further evidence of the Ramones’ influence). I love their sound and energy, and they slow it down just enough from time to time to allow you a reprieve and chance to catch your breath on songs like “Hate Your Games” and the almost painfully sluggish “Sad Little Bug,” which also gives The Makers a little bit of variety (but not much). If you love garage, lo-fi, Jack White, or graffiti flowers spray painted on the walls of abandoned buildings, then The Makers is for you my friend.