On sophomore release, Liquor Store (out now on the trio’s own imprint, Yesca Rock), Long Beach threesome Sterile Jets conjure the heyday of SST Records, evoking the legacy of the Minutemen, Hüsker Dü, Saccharine Trust and other likeminded bands who mixed up or broke down genres.
Similar to other SST artists, Sterile Jets don’t make comfortable music. Skewed bass lines, contrary guitar, lop-sided drums and fractious, poetic lyrics keep the material on an in-the-moment trajectory. There’s lots of noise, distorted dollops of heavy metal, stoner rock, post rock, art punk and more. The theme that ties it all together, as implied by the record title, is alcohol, a familiar Sterile Jets motif (The group’s debut was called Barlights at 2AM).
One signature example is the blustering, riffing “Bender. Day 15,” the ongoing diary of a man trying to remain intoxicated before closing hour. Another is indie-prog opener, “…To the Bars!” about a psychologically damaged figure with murder on his mind who needs liquid courage. Then there’s unconventional grunge-rocker “I’m Glad You’re Crying, Cowboy,” which is akin to hearing a disjointed conversation between two emotional drunks.
Sterile Jets' Liquor Store is out now.