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Enemies with Benefits

Album review: Stiff Middle Fingers - Enemies with Benefits (EP)

Maybe it’s the economy. Maybe it’s the layoffs I recently witnessed. But Stiff Middle Fingers' Enemies with Benefits EP resonates. The guys in the Lawrence-based band live up to their name. It’s a big "screw you," but you can’t be mad because the band provides a good set.
Stiff Middle Fingers brings a nice combination of howling vocals, raging guitar, pulsating bass and pounding drums brought to you by Travis Arvey (vocals), Cameron Joel Hawk (guitar/some vocals), Barry Swenson (bass), and JP “Heeps” Redmon (drums). These local band stalwarts already have street cred; this is just another avenue to display their talents.
The opening song “Common Cents” is especially strong. You can’t help but feel the band’s fury at the concept of becoming a slave to money and the value society puts on it. “The only change I’ve ever found is when I see a penny on the fucking ground. Now that I’m old, I don’t waste my time picking that shit up unless it’s a dime,” Avery screams and laments while Hawk, Swenson, and Redmon concur in agreement through their instruments of choice.
Songs on the EP are short, but memorable as if to say: “We’re here to party our asses off and then leave just to make you wonder what the fuck just happened?!” The instrumental riff on “Love Song” is especially catchy. The song starts with a nice drum intro but doesn’t leave you waiting like that guy you met at the dive bar who swears you’re hilarious and will call you. It provides instant gratification. It’s short like most bar relationships. But it just lets you know it’s over by quietly fading out.
And if you’re looking for rage, listen to “World’s Biggest Guillotine.” It really can’t be missed. This song is what you should listen to after a bad day unless you are overly prone to suggestion. If that’s the case, you should probably listen to Yanni or Kenny G because you’re weak.
Overall, Stiff Middle Fingers give a stout recording debut. I recommend listening to this on speakers (not your laptop). Also, don’t listen alone. Invite people over, put plastic on the floor and then start full body thrashing, dancing and hip checking while drinking. I am certain this will greatly enhance your listening enjoyment.
If you're interested in an inexpensive all-out punk show, Stiff Middle Fingers will be performing with Mr. and the Mrs. and 69 Noses at Replay this Saturday at 9:00 pm. Facebook event page here.

--Alicia Houston

Alicia Houston eats toast, drinks coffee and drives a car. Her view on the Oxford comma continually is up for debate. When she’s had a few beers, Alicia impersonates Katherine Hepburn. She has been writing since she was five and listening to music since she was born. She has a tattoo of a gray unicorn. The unicorn gives her advice and daily affirmations.

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