The second release from the Brooklyn “mini-supergroup that never bothered to name itself” is a mischief-packed rebel’s romp through the claustrophobic confines of Anytown, USA
The music itself aside for a moment (because obviously that’s integral), if there’s one thing that really pulls me into a performance, it’s when it’s obvious the people putting it on are having the best time ever.
So is the case with the video for “Small Town,” the second single from friends and collaborators Dead Tooth and No Surrender, in which the black-clad pair prowl an anonymous city with the restlessness and recklessness of overgrown teenagers, hitting the most important of hot spots—batting cage, liquor store, cemetery—breaking rules (and guitars), and getting into a little bit of trouble while clearly having a hell of a lot of fun.
As for the song itself, much like the duo’s debut (“I Hate the Precedent”), the track combines howls and growls—the soulful, drawn-out delivery of No Surrender’s Darius VanSluytman juxtaposed with, and occasionally overlapping, the vocal punch of Zach Ellis, whose every word sounds like it has to fight its way out past his actual Dead Tooth.
“Small Town” is also similar to the artists’ last single (+ video) in its strong sociopolitical commentary, but rather than taking aim at a fascist figurehead, the song covers more of a widespread emotional phenomenon: the suffocating sense of dread and collective state of claustrophobia that countless individuals across the country have been living—and struggling—with for almost a year.
“The tune explores the angst and anxiety surrounding the way we’ve been living since COVID, and a landmark year of American protest,” the duo wrote ahead of the release. “A feeling like everywhere in America is the proverbial small town every dreamer hopes to escape.”
Or, more simply put, it’s “just a couple boys thinking about running away.”
Along with Darius and Zach, big creative credit has to be given to Ross the Boss from legendary NYC punk band the Dictators + metal band Manowar, who in a very rad career pivot now owns and runs the Queens batting cage where a large chunk of the video was shot, and Dalton Patton (Bat Kid, Little Sun, Should’ve, Otra Vez, Blue Yonder… plus probably another band by the time I finish this sentence), who shot and edited the video and thus got to join the dudes on their city-wide tour of shenanigans—an assignment that, for the record, I’m very, very jealous of.
So on that note: Darius, Zach, when you read this piece, please consider it not only a premiere but also a job application to help out on the next video shoot. I’ll, like, hold the boom mic…
And, far more importantly, the beers and the baseball bats.
Stay tuned for a Dead Tooth + No Surrender EP, coming this spring!
Feature image provided by the artists.