"What I say about Steve Hit Mike is that it's simply 'punk rock,' because we're influenced by both punk and rock music," says singer/guitarist Jeff Riddle, 20. The frontman has a lot on his plate this year, and he's glad to yak about his music and ideas, many of which ended up in the songs on a new five-song EP, Twelve Feet Under.
Riddle, drummer Brian Cochran, guitarist Chris Love, and bassist Jamie Simpson celebrate the official release of the disc this Thursday at the Music Farm.
"It's the first serious effort in the studio for us," says Riddle. "We made it our goal to take the time and effort to really focus on recording. A lot of bands sound really produced these days ... almost too much so. We aren't going for that. We're really proud that we're sticking to our guns and being true to ourselves. That's how we made the CD. That's how we wrote the songs. That's how we handled things in the studio. Our attitude is 'this is us, man,' and if you don't like it, you can listen to another band."
The band formed in Summerville in 2000. After two lo-fi/low-budget releases, their aggressive, two-guitar buzzsaw sound actually opens up and breathes a bit on the new disc under the crisp, clean production from engineers Jordan Herschaft and Jeff Leonard -- a true feat, considering all the hollering and carryin' on.
Opening song, "Applesauce Enema," sounds like something off of a very early U2 LP played at 45 r.p.m. The darkly-themed "Steak Knife" borrows a familiar progression from Tom Petty's "American Girl," but sounds as macabre as anything The Gun Club or The Cramps ever spewed. The title track, a song about being buried alive, draws from the same four-chord, no-nonsense punk sound of the early-'80s Cali-punk scene (think Social D, The Germs, X). "Goddammit" is a near-perfect punk anthem.
"We don't like getting lumped in with the whole 'pop-punk' category," explains Riddle. "I really hate categorizing music, really. I like to think of us a lyrical band, too. Some songs tell stories -- creepy stories like a Tim Burton or Stephen King kind of thing. Some songs are more about real-life things, like a drinking habit, or a jerk who pissed you off. Some songs are a big 'fuck you!'"