Sunday, July 02, 2023

Zero Boys - "Don't Shoot, Can't Breathe"

Installment #9 in I-94 Recordings' Detroit covers 7" series features Indianapolis, Indiana's legendary Zero Boys. "Don't Shoot, Can't Breathe" is the band's first physical release of new music in over a decade. The title track was a digital-only release back in 2018. Now it sees a well-deserved vinyl release, and its message about social injustice is sadly more relevant than ever. 

Zero Boys are one of those bands who've managed to make a successful transition from early '80s hardcore heroes to elder statesmen of the modern-day punk rock and roll scene. Original members Paul Mahern (vocals) and Mark Cutsinger (drums) are still at it. And the "new guys," guitarist Dave Lawson and bassist Scott Kellogg, have been in the band since 2012. "Don't Shoot, Can't Breathe" is nothing short of an anthem. It's an impassioned, furious number that typifies Midwestern punk rock and finds the Zero Boys as socially conscious as ever. It's a thrill to hear one of the greatest American punk groups of all-time in such fine form — and still with something important to say. The music video for the song (directed by Eric Ayotte) is quite powerful and well worth taking the time to watch. I appreciate the thought that the band put into their choice of a Detroit cover for the B-side. They take on Alice Cooper's classic Love It To Death track "Long Way to Go" and give it the proper punched-up Zero Boys treatment. In pairing these two songs together, they reiterate what is painfully obvious in society today: indeed we still have a long way to go. The cover art references the Detroit riots of 1967 but could just as easily depict what's happening in our cities today. Of course this entire 7" series has been brilliant, but this installment is especially essential. There are a few colors of vinyl already sold out, but many remain in stock. Hit up the I-94 web site to order your copy of "Don't Shoot, Can't Breathe" along with any remaining installments in the Detroit covers series you have not yet procured. And if you haven't kept up with the Zero Boys in recent decades, you can explore most of their catalog on Bandcamp!

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