Not even a pandemic can kill garage rock. Last month, Miami rock outfit Jacuzzi Boys released their latest single, "The Pits," on Jack White's Third Man Records.
The trio originally met the rock renaissance man while rolling through Nashville on tour years ago. Third Man co-owner Ben Swank told the band to get in touch if they were ever interested in doing a release through the label. "The Pits" wasn’t recorded specifically for White's imprint, but after the Jacuzzi Boys finished the track, they sent it to Swank and he dug the sound.
Released on July 17, the single is backed with "Offended," whose lyrics take on the voice of outrage and cancel culture: “I want the world to hear me scream/So I type it out right into my screen/Making noise is something I enjoy/Cuz I’m searching I’m searching to annoy.”
The B-side clocks in at a tight one minute long, but Jacuzzi Boys make their point on online commentary very clear. Lead singer and guitarist Gabriel Alcala equates social media's echo chamber to “the hell realm.”
“Swim in the Twitter comments section for a bit, and you’ll be sure to be bad tripping in no time,” Alcala tells New Times.
On the reverse side, "The Pits" offers a more conventional example of garage rock, with a '60s-influenced melody and drive. True to its title, the track paints a bleak picture of the jaded youth of today's world. “Dry messed around and then I got high/Faded like the night in the sky/Waving at the neighbors bye-bye/It’s the pits, it’s the pits.”
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Though it doesn't convey a particularly positive outlook, there’s something exceedingly playful in the tone of this Jacuzzi Boys' release. The music, like so much of their work, stabs the listener in the heart with its simple message.
Perhaps owing to the current shutdown, the video for "The Pits" is made up mostly of footage shot over the years on bass player Danny Gonzales’ phone. From cuts of people living life to animals doing their thing and paint swirling, everything worth living for is there.
“I compiled a bunch of it and asked Francisco Moraga, who we had worked with on our Florida Room episode, to cut it to the track. I think it worked out pretty well,” Gonzales explains.
Third Man Records prides itself on the quality of its physical releases, so you'd better believe "The Pits" is worth picking up IRL. The launch brought a limited-edition, blue-vinyl version that was sold exclusively at Technique Records in South Florida — and quickly sold out. The traditional black-vinyl version remains available wherever records are sold.