The turn of the millennium was an outstanding time to be an adolescent developing their music tastes, for better or worse. And while it’s easy to look back at has-been fads like rap-rock and scoff, it’s just as easy to overlook one the coolest innovations of the late nineties/early aughts: dance-punk. Thankfully that playful angst of post-punk plastered over frenetic disco-inspired drums still makes waves well past the era when acts like LCD Soundsystem, !!!, and The Rapture reigned supreme.
So while we don’t envy Houston’s sweltering humidity during this historic heatwave, we’re pretty jealous that Swimwear Department kicks it in the Bayou City’s backyard. This receipt-fiending aquatic quartet first got their ankles wet half a decade back on their EP Turn Over! Go Under!, a seven-song dip that sticks to two strict lyrical lanes: swimming pools and shopping malls. Music-wise, Swimwear Department doggy paddles around DEVO, backstrokes with The B-52’s, and front crawls up to early Elvis Costello… and their collective pH level’s only gotten better; no need to scrub that infectious punk gunk off with any commercial pop chlorine.
Well, as we near the tail end of these dog days, there’s hardly a better time for Swimwear Department to cannonball into streaming services with their sophomore follow-up. This Friday the four-piece reemerges shocked and invigorated on The Poolest of the Mall, bringing a whole new meaning to the term “swimmer’s ear” with all types of sonic oddities. Fortunately for those who want to dive in headfirst, half the record’s ten originals have already submerged as part of a year-long release schedule, all ahead of an Austin show at Valhalla on Saturday, September 23rd with fellow weirdos Big Bill. So if you’re feeling a little juvenile this Tuesday, let The Poolest of the Mall’s album opener splash you with a clearance discount on gratifying crassness, courtesy of “We Need A Place”. At just under five minutes, “We Need A Place” offers slippery sanctuary to all who need a zany post-punk plunge ASAP.