Brooklyn label Old Flame Records is known to foster great homegrown talent, but the latest addition to its roster arrives via a far-less trendy musical hub. The home of Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert, Austria has noted classical roots, but hasn’t produced much—okay, perhaps not anything—in the way of contemporary punk bands. Sex Jams are resolving to change that, carrying their infectious noise to U.S. shores for the first time.
Hits, a cassette compilation of Sex Jams’ early material, is the band’s first American release. Though plucked from the Austrian underground, their sound is obviously steeped in American indie rock tradition. When ‘90s grunge bedded the instant nostalgia of pop-punk melody, Sex Jams was born, instantly becoming the coolest wunderkind on the playground.
And, as far as hits go, Sex Jams keep them coming, never letting up throughout the 16 spacious tracks. Crisp, energetic, but often quite dark, there’s a Pixies/Breeders vibe to the band’s slashy guitar work and screech-pop sensibilities. Band leader Katie Trenk is a lively frontwoman—“the devil enters my soul,” she shriek-laments on opener “Beauty Is Beast”—yet she’s equally adept at taking it slow, like on the dreamy acoustic stunner “Just Kids”. Sex Jams set off the firecrackers, and she’s dancing between sparks; a bright burst of noise here, a long, soaring hook there.
On their introductory release, Sex Jams scrap old convention and begin writing a history that’s fresh, new, and thoroughly exciting.
Sex Jams’ Hits is out on October 21 via Old Flame Records.