They say idle hands are the devil’s plaything and if that’s true, then a lot of bands and artists were giving Satan some sick-ass handies during COVID. Though I can’t imagine our society surviving another event like that without devolving into a Mad Max type of scenario, it was good for a few things: re-evaluating our lives and stoking creativity if for no other reason than choke-slamming boredom or our fraying sanity.
Jon Weisnewski of Sandrider and Akimbo fame launched a solo project last year that’s already been quite prolific and creatively resolute with its differences from existing bands. It’s called Nuclear Dudes and it’s the answer to Weisnewski’s question, ‘What if Carcass and Gary Numan were locked in a studio and had to figure out how to make a record together?‘ We’re so happy to be able to premiere its next song, “Year 3”, off of Boss Blades, the upcoming LP dropping on July 7 with the help of Modern Grievance Records.
I’ve been very open and upfront with my love for Sandrider before many times, but Nuclear Dudes stands out so much from their music. It’s experimental at its core – elements of cybergrind, industrial, thrash metal, dark ambient, synthwave, and probably more I’m forgetting permeate all output so far. Even still, “Year 3” doesn’t sound like anything off of the project’s first album, Bad at Sleep, nor does it really come close to much from Gin & Panic, the second album (though “Creatures of Eight” is only a few steps removed sonically), both released in 2022. What we have here is a slow burning, almost cinematic trek through what feels like a sepia-stained, dying world, bereft of life and caked with dust, dirt, and grime from neglect.
Weisnewski shares some important context for the track:
‘I wrote “Year 3” during the third year of Covid restrictions. It’s about all the boring shit we were all dealing with while losing the attrition battle against masks, social distancing, the endless and awful vaccine debate, etc. I’m really happy with some of the disgusting tones I got on the guitars. I tracked the bass riff in my kitchen one evening to my family’s displeasure. There’s a stupid amount of vocal tracks layered on there that somehow Matt Bayles was able to mix into coherence. He’s pretty good, that Bayles.’
Even without a video, it’s easy to see rolling hills of desolation when you listen to “Year 3”, tumbleweeds the only denizens visible, rollicking along fractured concrete roads and sickly fields alike. It feels like a reintroduction to the world after a major catastrophic event – fitting given the track’s inspiration. The guitar tones are indeed disgusting and remind me of something HEALTH would use with their buzziness – or maybe those are buzzsaw-esque synths I’m hearing at the crescendo in the beginning. The bass never quits and provides a warm intro in an otherwise ambient and cold moment. The heavily layered vocals stab through the haze and provide hope that something human remains in the darkest recesses of the world. I love it. It gives me chills. It has such a flow about it, moving from section to section with ease, nothing’s forced, and it all makes for the most unique song Nuclear Dudes has put out so far.
Massive thanks to everyone involved in setting up this premiere – it made my day to hear that we got this opportunity. If you’re as excited for Boss Blades as I am after hearing “Year 3”, I’d suggest you preorder the album through Bandcamp. Again, it drops on July 7 via Modern Grievance Records, and features guest appearances from Botch‘s Dave Verellen and Dust Moth‘s Irene Barber, as well as chaotically cute cover art from Weisnewski’s kid, Cooper! You can follow Nuclear Dudes on Twitter and Instagram as well. 🙂
Both artist photos by Maria Alcantara