As a music lifer, it’s always a particular joy when you randomly stumble upon a band and album that floor you upon first listen. You know what I mean, the second the needle drops, the second you hit ‘play’ and the music comes roaring out of the speakers you think ‘this is going to be a rager’. Well, that is the exact experience I had upon hearing Brain Dust the debut album from Oakland, California’s self-described ‘long-haired punk’ power trio Glowing Brain.
Birthed from the same area as High on Fire, Saviours, Watch Them Die, and Necrot to name a few, the band describes their sound as a mix of Motörhead, Hot Snakes, Wipers, and VoiVod, fitting for the ‘long haired punk’ description. Additionally, I hear contemporary underground punk bands like METZ and Pissed Jeans in Glowing Brain’s approach.
The Hot Snakes influence is on display instantly as Glowing Brain blow the record open with three straight bangers starting with the charging Ripping Future, its frantic intro almost a direct nod to Braintrust off Hot Snakes Audit In Progress record. The third of the three Suffer Fools is a monster. Opening with drummer James Lyter’s pounding d-beat and bassist/vocalist Conrad Nichols rumbling bass, it’s catchy as all hell, as I found myself humming guitarist Doc Miller’s main riff whilst listening to Brain Dust as I hit ‘repeat’, um, repeatedly. I swear, I must’ve listened to this song forty times as I was absorbing Brain Dust.
a ripping, distorted, riff-y, punk-y, slightly psychedelic bash-fest of an album…
Plastic World changes the tempo but keeps a menacing, distorted, down-stroke energy throughout while showcasing some of Miller’s lead work and slippery riffage. Everyone Higher Than Everyone Else, an obvious nod to Motörhead, is a centerpiece of Brain Dust. Fast and furious, charging and distorted, it exemplifies Glowing Brain’sattack thus far. However, the three-piece drop into a dirge-y, spacey outro, that for the life of me, I believe to be a nod to something else that I cannot pinpoint. Nichols vocals are drenched in effects, and we hear him a bit on the electric piano as well. Miller also gets his time to shine offering up some shred with a tad of emotional heft befitting of the mood of the outro.
Bleed Into is another standout. Offering a less-aggressive approach, a bit of melody, the band stretch their legs a bit, building the song up. Hints of post-punk are apparent, and Miller shows he’s got more than one trick up his sleeve. Somehow this record fell through the cracks a bit but turned out to be yet another record that came out at the end of 2021, that I found myself listening to over & over. Brain Dust turned out to be a ripping, distorted, riff-y, punk-y, slightly psychedelic bash-fest of an album, that hit that rare sweet spot between punk-ish d-beat aggression, and heavy stoner rock riffs.
Scribed by: Martin Williams