Pitchfork is streaming Plague Vendor's visceral debut album Free To Eat now. Visit Pitchfork to listen in its entirety. Free to Eat is out on April 15 on Epitaph and is available for pre-order at the Plague Vendor Store.
Plague Vendor is a band of four friends from Whittier, CA, just 20 miles outside of Los Angeles proper. Brandon Blaine (vocals), Michael Perez (bass), Luke Perine (drums), and Jay Rogers (guitar) are inspired by their hometown, the Liars' discography, dubbed VHS tapes, and Andy Kaufman. The band name was taken from the title of a Mexican folk tale "The Pulque Vendor" that Blaine had interpreted as Plague Vendor.
Live shows began in 2009. They were raucous and treacherous, making it clear that Plague Vendor was peddling something formidable. With a number of house parties, club gigs, and warehouse shows under their belts, Plague Vendor quickly became synonymous with wild nights and good times. Live shows are treated as an opportunity to evoke a reaction from fans -the audience is encouraged to get just as loose as the band is onstage. Fearless front man Brandon Blaine channels the kinetic energy of a brooding, young Nick Cave on stage, with bassist Michael Perez, guitarist Jay Rogers, and drummer Luke Perine providing the pummeling instrumentation.
Free To Eat> veers rapidly from aggressive thrash to melodic introspection, compressing the range of human experience into ten rapid-fire, in-your-face songs. Everything was recorded live in the studio, using only two or three takes with no overdubs. The songs say something worthwhile, revealing subconscious interpretations of the musicians' experiences and ideas.
The dynamic between this band of friends is an undeniable force; everything they do comes from passion. Plague Vendor is simultaneously dangerous and comforting, and predicated on the meaning its own name invokes.
"Plague Vendor sure know how to make a memorable entrance," says SPIN. Brooklyn Vegan describes it as "raw, psych-y garage punk with a shouty vocalist that belongs in a grimy basement." And according to Noisey, Plague Vendor's music is "definitely repeatable".
Catch the Plague this summer as the band will be playing all season on Warped Tour.