Brad Shultz (left) and Kane Stewart (right) of Plastic Visions
After the massive success of Cage the Elephant’s self-titled debut album, many aspiring musicians in the city of Bowling Green, Kentucky have been following the path their fellow band trailblazed. The result is a cohesive, tight knit, almost family oriented musical scene not too dissimilar to what was happening in Seattle in the 80’s and early 90’s. Musically, many of these bands are raw, energized, and shed mainstream radio cock rock and post-grunge tropes in favor of a sort of stripped down form of punk-grunge. Bands like Sleeper Agent have already started to ripple through to mainstream knowledge with their debut album, and others, such as Schools, are set to make it big with the release of their debut EP. Even bands located out of neighboring Nashville, Tennessee became associated with Bowling Green; artists like Bad Cop are getting heavily plugged by their Kentucky peers.
The latest band to come out of the “family” is the new project of Cage the Elephant guitarist Brad Shultz and his cousin, Kane Stewart, a Californian expatriate who recently settled in Nashville. Formed out of the ashes of Stewart’s previous project, The Sex Bombs, the duo’s debut EP, Plastic Visions, is a no-nonsense rock and roll effort that captures the frenetic-yet-poppy attitude of Nirvana and The Pixies, courtesy of Brad Shultz’s playing, and meshes it with Kane Stewart’s Californian surf-rock attitude. The EP, which is a depressingly short fifteen minutes, opens with a mid-tempo Pixies-esque barrage in “Kamikaze”, with vocalist Kane Stewart belting irreverent lyrics such as “you think you’re so fucking cool!” The song, which ends in a barraging, noisy guitar solo, transitions into the fast-paced punk rocker “Now I Know”, a very catchy and up-beat tune that I can only say is reminiscent of songs off of Nirvana’s classic Nevermind such as “Territorial Pissings”.
In what is surely the most accessible tune on the depressingly short E.P., “Little String” is a strong Generation Y anthem. “Well I got wound up tight”, Stewart belts out to a steady backbeat. “They cut me open, they stringed me up. That’s how it feels to be turned into a little string.” I believe the song has the potential to be a radio hit if the band ever makes it available for airplay: its catchy, psychedelic, and intense. “Bitch, This Ain’t LA”, the E.P.’s closer, is irreverent fun: at this point, it seems the band just wanted to have fun, throwing away deeper lyrical content for the sake of pure energy, with Kane Stewart ranting “listen to me. Bitch, this ain’t LA” over two minutes and ten seconds of pure, unadulterated noise-pop.
What Plastic Visions have given us is a fun, disappointingly yet appropriately short E.P. that continues the trend of promising young bands emerging from the Bowling Green, Kentucky area. Brad Shultz won’t be part of the band when it performs live due to his commitments to Cage the Elephant’s third studio release, but I’m sure Stewart will carve a niche in the Bowling Green/Nashville music scenes on his own.
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