Song of the Day: VHS - Wheelchair

Local Music, Song of the Day
07/15/2016
Zach Frimmel
photo by Melissa Wax

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Wheelchair” by Seattle band VHS from their 2016 release, Gift of Life, on Suicide Squeeze Records.

VHS - Wheelchair (MP3)

VHS, an acronym for Violent Human System, is a vitriolic punk four-piece from Seattle that self-identifies as "born in the basement, raised on rock 'n' roll." They've been around since 2014 after Josh Hageman, the singer, decided to move up from Reno and start a band with some cronies. After a couple DIY releases, VHS has reached Suicide Squeeze status and they've been making things happen with their new album, Gift of Life. If their long-form name doesn't connote their gritty sound enough, think about if 7 Seconds (also from Reno) mated with post-punk, especially Killing Joke, then you might be able to hear their vibe and understand where their ennui-escapist lyrics "there's only drugs for the pain / and there's only pain without drugs" originate. The second track off Gift of Life, "Wheelchair", just barely falls over the two-minute marker, but is an aberrant anthem pregnant with harrowingly melodic guitar, cymbal-driving choruses, and punk chants of "gift of life." They're a bold new take on the old.

If you missed VHS this early this month at Chop Suey or want to see them again, you can catch them at Capitol Hill Block Party on Sunday, July 24, at 5:45pm in Barboza. They were just lauded as one of the top 15 bands to see at CHBP. Keep tabs on the band via their Facebook page and also check out their official video for "Art Decay", another song off their new album, Gift of Life.

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