Hailing from Los Angeles, Fidlar (an acronym for F**k It Dog, Life’s A Risk) is the band that your parents don’t want you listening to. Elvis Kuehn, Max Kuehn, Zac Carper and Brandon Schwartzel have made a quiet name for themselves for putting on excessively rambunctious live shows and being ruthless party animals.
Fidlar’s first self-titled studio album in 2013 was nothing short of their reality as they screamed lyrics about shooting up, drinking cheap beer and cocaine running around in their brains.
The surfy punk-rock group deliver a relentless sound that goes from loud to louder to really fucking LOUD. They’ve said that they’re a product of 90's LA, in that they grew up skating, surfing and listening to Blink-182, The Offspring and NOFX, to name a few.
While the brutal, uncompromising honesty of their first album raked in misfit fans from all over the world, their latest album, ‘Too’ seems to have caused a bit of a stir amongst their fan base.
The sophomore album is similar to their first, in that it is packed with boisterous rock anthems and maintains that trademark-Fidlar honesty. However, much unlike the first album, ‘Too’ was mostly a sober creation. In a recent interview with Noisey, frontman Zac Carper revealed that he wrote “probably 90 percent” of the album when he was sober. He explains that he turned to writing as a way of dealing with life after his rehabilitation from a meth and heroin addiction. Pretty gnarly stuff.
Ultimately, ‘Too’ is a coming-of-age record for Fidlar as it highlights how the band’s dynamics have changed and how far they’ve come in the two and a half years since their first album. Featuring heartbreak, anxiety, restlessness and the struggle of growing up – something that many of us can relate to and it is for this reason that Fidlar has such loyal, worshipping fans. As to be expected, the record is also rife with hilariously clever one-liners.
The opening track, ‘40oz On Repeat’ was released with a video earlier this year and received overwhelming approval from long-time fans as well as many others who were quick to jump on the Fidlar bandwagon. Favourite line without a doubt would have to be: “I got bills to pay and I got pills to take, ‘cause I’m born and raised in the USA.” With a real old school, Blink-182 vibe, the track sets the scene for the rest of the album.
The second track, ‘Punks’ has a hell of a hook and Zac mentions in his Noisey interview that it’s “just a fucking jam” when they play it live.
‘West Coast’ is another Blink-182-inspired anthem and was originally released on their 2012 demo EP, ‘Shit We Recorded In Our Bedroom’. The song was re-recorded to produce an even more ripping sound that narrates the woes of growing up; “I should try and get a life but I don’t want that 9 to 5.”
A personal favourite track is ‘Sober’ because it’s essentially an internal monologue, which conveys the frustration of love, relationships and growing up more accurately than anything I’ve ever heard. The chorus, “I figured out as I got sober, that life just sucks when you get older”, is one that will surely resonate with many.
Another stand-out track, ‘Leave Me Alone’ tells the story of someone who will say anything just to be left alone. Sound familiar? Fidlar seem to have a real knack for defining the feelings of our generation. The resonating one-liner strikes again with, “too late to die young and too young to burn out.” Whether or not you’re a hardcore party animal, or just a regular twenty-something, this line really sums up that ‘lost’ feeling we all get sometimes.
Fidlar’s self-titled debut in 2012 and their latest, ‘Too’ are very different albums but for all the right reasons. Zac Carper explains the interesting band divide that occurred between the two albums; “We all needed some time away from each other to be honest. To kind of figure our own shit out…like, get the fuck away from me for at least eight months or something.”
In hindsight, a sober album is probably the best thing that Fidlar could have produced and ‘Too’ is a solid testament to that. They’re still making awesome music and playing sold out shows, the only difference is that they’re mostly sober now.
If you or someone you know needs support for drug-related problems, visit the Australian Drug Foundation’s website.
Header image taken by Owen Richards via Pitchfork