ver the past eight years, San Diego’s the Locust has disgusted, enthralled or pissed off all who have encountered them. Whether due to the band’s vicious new-wave grindcore spazzery, their penchant for gimmicky/collectible merchandise or their recent allegiance with Epitaph, the Locust affects people, which is more than can be said for 99% of the world’s punk rock bands. And what the Locust do is undeniably punk -- honest, principled and fuelled by the desire to destroy: destroy complacency, destroy familiarity, destroy tradition, destroy music, destroy you.
While possessing a vastly different sound and a more anarchistic approach, the Locust has a surprising amount in common with fellow San Diegans Rocket From the Crypt. Like RFTC, the Locust are prolific creators of “little records”, releasing 7”s, 12”s and splits (with Melt-Banana, Man Is the Bastard, Jenny Piccolo) with alarming rapidity. Said records often call attention to another similarity the band shares with Rocket, a keen sense of merchandising. (Which color is your copy of the puddle-shaped Arab On Radar split 7”? Snot, shit, piss, cum or blood?) Aside from the always-colored vinyl, the Locust has also made available compacts (or coke mirrors, depending on who you ask), a plethora of well-designed t-shirts and, of course, belt-buckles. Also like RFTC, the Locust’s many musical alliances often overshadow the band itself. The band’s current line-up consists of members of the sorely missed Swing Kids (bassist/vocalist Justin Pearson), vegan gore-grinders Cattle Decapitation (drummer Gabe Serbian) and fuck-rock aficionados Le Shok (keybordist Joey Karam), with Robert Bray (guitar), Pearson and Serbian also performing in Holy Molar. Former members of the Locust can currently be found playing with Cattle Decapitation and Tristeza.
Even when equipped with knowledge of the band’s aggressive lineage (grind, Drive Like Jehu-inspired hardcore and mental case new wave), it’s hard to prepare oneself for the violence the Locust unleashes. Relentless blitzkriegs of high velocity noise, skinny tie keyboards and bloody screaming that often last less than a minute, Locust songs are tightly-wound, dynamic and bizarre expressions of frustration and hatred whose intensity and creativity are currently unparalleled in punk rock, and even if one was to take away the merch, the frequent kitschiness and the matching outfits (yet another nod to RFTC), you would still be left with a band whose blistering material, incredible live show and desire to re-invigorate punk are refreshing, impossible to deny and necessary.
Worthy of your attention, your respect and your money, the Locust will enter stage two of their development in June, when their much-ballyhooed (and soon to be much-hyped) Anti debut, Plague Soundscapes is released.
Location: San Diego
Style: Violent, new-wave grindcore
Labels Appeared On: Three One G, GSL, King of the Monsters, Epitaph/Anti (forthcoming)
split 7” with Melt-Banana
The Locust e.p.
By: Clay Jarvis
Published on: 2003-09-01