Simple Distractions is the latest release from Street Eaters, a vital, four-song seven-inch that marks the Bay Area mainstays’ first foray into recording with guitar, after spending over a decade as a two-piece vocals, drums, and bass unit.
Released on the band’s own Nervous Intent label, Simple Distractions came out April 9 as a limited-edition picture disc of 200 copies, which promptly sold out a month before its release.
“We were like, ‘jeez, internet!’” laughs vocalist and bassist John No of the record’s awesome reception.
Vocalist and drummer Megan March says, “I really appreciated that. I think people are really trying to be supportive of music right now, and I think people miss going to shows. I miss going to shows.”
The record features three original tracks that brilliantly showcase the band’s gloriously urgent, tense, and immediate post-punk style. Interestingly, the 7-inch closes with a cool live rendition of Gang of Four’s “Love Like Anthrax,” which was recorded Halloween night 2017 at the Pinhook in Durham, North Carolina, and features Screaming Females’ vocalist and guitarist Marissa Paternoster. It was the first time the duo had played with guitar.
“It was a good fit,” March says of including this cover on the release. “I basically think this 7-inch is really symbolic for us, in the sense that it shows a pivotal growth moment where we can show we’re playing with guitars.”
All four songs “sound good together and they’re all songs that need to come out now because they all really make sense at the certain stage we were at and that we are still growing from,” explains No.
“It was cool to get it out because it was a snapshot of a particular moment of introducing a guitar in the band,” No continues. “It showed how we were sort of easing into that and becoming part of our sound, and now we’ve really incorporated that. As we’re getting into the newer writing and recording, that’s going to become more and more seamless.”
They recorded this seven-inch with guitarist Stevo (also of Tony Molina Band) and have since recruited Joan Toledo for guitar duties. She had been playing with March and No in the band DIFFICULT, and hence was a great, natural fit. Likewise, she’s been injecting a lot of excitement into the group.
“We have a really strong, creative bond with her. She knows where we’re going and we know where she’s going,” says No.
Street Eaters had previously been playing as a duo for over a decade and, according to No, “were all about minimalism.”
“The tension of the two instruments,” adds March.
“And try to make it as loud as possible,” says No. “And as full as possible without going beyond that. But we started to realize we’ve been a band for a long time, and we had certain people in our lives who would be perfect to collaborate with and to play with. We’ve been a band for 10 years, we can do whatever the hell we want.”
And they’ve been following that mantra, doing what they want, since their inception, crafting exciting, moody, thought-provoking songs.
“We have a lot of fun experimenting with interesting sounds,” No says. “I think for a long time we kind of let ourselves go pretty wild on it, leftfield, because we kept the basic formulation of the band so simple that we didn’t fear that it was getting into self-indulgence because we were into keeping it rhythmically tight and locked. It kind of created a weird aesthetic that we’ve done and continued to build on.”
“I think that ties into having been a two-piece for so long,” March elaborates. “Because there’s no room to fuck up when there’s only two people.”
“And also, just playing so many shows, there’s no room to… it’s not cute if you’re super sloppy,” she says with a laugh.
Check out the video for “Simple Distractions” here:
Photo courtesy of Street Eaters.