As long as I’ve been playing music and watching shows in Memphis I’ve noticed a few things. One thing is that a lot of musicians aren’t content to just play in one band. (I’m in two right now, and always seem to have another project in the works.) And a lot of the best musicians in Memphis aren’t content to do the same thing every time they get on stage. There’s usually more than one side to most musicians. In a way then, Sex Cult shouldn’t surprise anyone, though at first glance, they might.
Take a frontman from a hardcore punk band (Chris Shaw of Vile Nation), a rhythm section from pop bands (Natalie Hoffman of Bake Sale/Nots on bass and Michael Peery of Magic Kids on drums) add J.B Horrell (of Noise Choir, Hedgecreep and others) and Alec McIntyre on guitar and you get a group that uses early punk as a jumping off point, but doesn’t stop there. Hardcore punk in stereotype is not much more than fast, hard pounding, screaming, high energy spew. Sex Cult, as you might guess from the elements included, have a bit more finesse than that. Yes, they’re very high energy, but there’s more depth to the grooves they put out than your average bludgeoning punk band. There’s a good sense of dynamics in the songs, and enough rhythmic changes from song to song to keep things from getting stagnant.
Chris Shaw’s vocal stylings and stage antics are as intense as you’d expect from a veteran of hardcore punk bands, and creates an interesting contrast to the sometimes spacy, sometimes jangly but always powerful music behind him. Too many so called punk bands seem to be more concerned with fashion and attitude than with creating interesting music. Thank goodness Sex Cult doesn’t feel this way.
Sex Cult released a 7″ on Goner records last fall, and a second 7″ was just released by Nashville’s Dead. A full length album is in the works and will be out later this year on Goner. I’ve seen them play house parties, small bars like the Lamplighter, and even the big stage of Gonerfest 8, and they’ve always delivered an energetic, intense and fun show. What’s great about Memphis is that new bands seem to spring up every day. And because there’s so many different players in town, sometimes what seems like an odd mix of people creates a perfect mix of elements that leads to something you don’t see every day. Sex Cult does this, and should continue to keep rock and roll fans all over town jumping and grooving.
Patrick Glass has been playing music in Memphis for over a decade in bands such as Noise Choir, Alphabetical Order, Mouth Karate, and currently plays with Richard James & The Special Riders and Moving Finger. You can usually find him standing near the stage at the dive bars bobbing his head up and down at the rock shows.