With such killers as M.A.D., BL'AST!, and Yaphet Kotto, Santa Cruz, CA has had a fine lineage of hardcore punk bands throughout the last few decades. Formed in 2014, Drain is yet another outfit from the coastal city who have been busy both playing a ton of shows and dropping two proper EPs. The most recent release was 2017's Time Enough at Last, and I've been keeping my eye on them since that.
I'm glad to report that Drain is finally back with new material, and I'm even happier to say it's their best stuff to date. "This promo tape features songs that will be on our first full length record, projected to be out in 2019," vocalist Sam Ciaramitaro tells me about the two new tracks I'm premiering below. "These songs are a step in a new direction from our last record, Time Enough at Last, cutting off the 'fat,' so to speak." Listen below and see what the man is talking about:
Sam offers some more insight on the new Drain direction: "The fast parts are faster, the riffs are more technical, and the overall delivery is more aggressive and in your face. This was our third time recording with Taylor Young at The Pit and we couldn't be happier with the way that they came out."
How about the lyrical inspiration on these two new cuts? "Drain's lyrics have always been very personal, like reading through a journal or diary, and these songs are no exception. 'Army of One' is my not-so-cohesive but collective thoughts towards people who try to put me down for doing what makes me happy and not giving up on a dream when it gets tough. There was a period of time where I was working at a cookie bakery, playing in a handful of bands, and dead broke. Friends and family alI looked down on me and told me to grow up, and I had too much pride to ask for help when I needed it.
"I started doing weird shit to make it by, like trading cookies with neighboring businesses for food/coffee and posing nude for a community college art class. The guy running the place was a creep, but he gave me $75 cash-in-hand every time and I'd go straight to the grocery store. At times it felt like I had a ton of weight on my shoulders, but like a one man army I had to get through it, and I did."
The singer then gives some background on the second track of this new promo drop: "'California Cursed' is about the feelings that I have towards home whenever we leave and go on tour. Every day that leads up to it, I get more eager to leave Santa Cruz, get out of work, and get away from responsibility. And every tour, I realize within the first few days how much I miss my town and how much I love being in California. Seeing other places in the country and how affordable it is to live elsewhere has been eye opening, but I'm in love with having the beach right down the street, and will gladly slave away if it means that I get to go home to that."
With so many hardcore records looking the same lately, the cover imagery for Drain's new promo is a breath of fresh (California) air. "For the artwork for this release, we reached out to Raul Cruz in Los Angeles and told him that we wanted to have something that you could clearly see represented a band from Santa Cruz, but none of that Grateful Dead-hippy stuff. We started talking about '80s thrash records and came up with this idea of some street sharks beating up a surfer on the beach. He probably had it coming [laughs]. With this release being out, we're looking to continue to tour more and get our name out, as well as writing our LP. We have a few things up our sleeve for touring in the new year and are looking to stay out on the road more in 2019."