Evan Mumford On Why Television Zombie by OUTTACONTROLLER is Perfect
3) Quitting a job.
These three pop punk tropes are examples of why pop punk can be the greatest genre or the absolute worse. Tropes #1 and #3 aren’t so much troublesome as they are tired; it’s #2 that is the problem child. This is where pop punk straddles the line of being charming & romantic and creepy & sexist. You show me Jawbreaker’s “Want” and I’ll flash Screeching Weasel’s “I Don’t Wanna Be Friends.”
“Television Zombie” by Halifax, Nova Scotia’s OUTTACONTROLLER is the perfect pop-punk song. It hits all the aforementioned tropes while reminding you ‘trope’ doesn’t have to be a bad word. If I mention trope one more time it’ll be, frankly, unsettling (I’m at the end of my [t]rope).
“Television Zombie” is obsessed, melodic, fuzzy, and steady throughout- hitting those pop punk themes we love so much. I’ve listened to this song a bunch. A bunch. You can find the song on OUTTACONTROLLER’s bandcamp and it will be on their next LP, a follow up to 2012’s Don’t Play Dumb (released on P.Trash Records).
OUTTACONTROLLER take the best parts of Ramonescore and, what I’ll call, ‘neutral’ pop punk to make something cool. They’re kind of weird, actually- they have an interesting aesthetic and they cover Ladytron. Do yourself a favor and listen to them; their bandcamp is a gold mine- including outtakes from their LP. Be sure to check out “I Gave Up on Weezer” if you’re between the ages of 18-45.
Here’s a short interview I did with drummer Chris Murdoch (Envision, Word on the Street, Mean Streets) who joined the band in 2012.
Evan: I think “Television Zombie” is a great representation of pop punk, right? It hits the themes perfectly. Can I get a “hell yeah?” I know you’re in the band and everything but come on…
Murdoch: Thanks so much, man! That’s Terry’s song so I can’t speak from a songwriter point of view, but I definitely agree with you. Musically, all the ingredients are there – a catchy lead, a nice pre-chorus that builds up… we even made sure to start the song with a classic 4-hit on the snare drum, a la The Ramones. The first LP has songs about drugs and fighting – then a straight edge dude (me) joined the band and now we have songs about watching TV and food. Go figure.
Evan: Are you guys still planning to release the LP that we have a sneak peek to on bandcamp? Any updates on that?
Murdoch: Definitely. We’ve been working on the record like crazy and I think we pretty much have all the songs done. There’s a few that still need vocals, and James (who works at Echo Chamber Audio) is going to put some finishing touches on a few others.
We’re anxious to get the record out quickly, but we don’t want to rush anything – we’re all super proud of it and want the songs to sound as good as they possibly can before this beast is released.
Evan: You guys cover The Nerves and Ladytron on your Remote Control cassette. Are there any other covers you guys play around with?
Murdoch: We’d love to get some Wipers covers on the go. We’ve also toyed around with Misfits, Bruce Springsteen, and Elevator To Hell songs in the past. We may do some live covers in the near future, but I don’t think we’ll be recording any more of them any time soon – this new LP is going to be 100% pure Outtacontroller.
Evan: What’s your favorite song off of Don’t Play Dumb?
Murdoch: Super tough question; I love that record so much. It wasn’t long after I became obsessed with it that I got the opportunity to join the band! “Put It On High” is the song that got me into the band and the title track comes REALLY close to being my favourite, but I have to go with “Gotta Deal With Neil.” It’s my favourite all-around Outtacontroller song – both to play live and to listen to.
Evan: What are some of your favorite pop punk bands in the city- past or present?
Murdoch: Oh man, there have been a lot of great ones out of New Brunswick, but Terry and Matt know wayyyyy more about that shit than I do. I can certainly speak for Halifax though! My current fave would be the Fat Stupids, hands down. I also miss and adore Tongan Death Grip – they were easily one of the best bands Halifax has ever seen.
One of my first ever favourite local bands was a Cole Harbour band called Urban Peasant – a band that specialized in super catchy pop punk love songs. I saw them and Envision open for Gob when I was 13 years old. All of my other favourite Haligonian pop punk bands broke up before I started going to shows.
There is a super Ramones-y old Halifax band called the Bombscares, which featured Derrick Hiltz (The Chitz, Be Bad, Gilbert Switzer). They’d probably be my favourite pop-punk Halifax band of all time. There was also a fantastic poppy band out of Halifax called the Quahogs – a couple of ex-members now play in a cover band that does Superchunk and Ramones tunes. Pretty rad!
Look for the Quahogs “Glaze” 7-inch, it’s a total jammer. Last, but certainly not least, would be FYM – a late 90s/early 00s band that left a lasting impression on Halifax. One of my best friends, Ian Hart, turned me on to them and I’m forever in his debt. They are not a Ramones-style band at all, but very much in the vein of skate-punk style poppy stuff. Their self-titled 7-inch is a quintessential classic Halifax release. The band featured Mackenzie Ogilvie (The Plan, Equation Of State), and my pal Selwyn Sharples (Beat Material, TVP).
Check out OUTTACONTROLLER’s releases at http://outtacontroller.bandcamp.com
including The Colt Summer/Trash On 7-inch on P Trash Records
and their upcoming LP on Mammoth Cave Records
Give em’ a like on facebook
and visit them at http://outtacontroller.com