The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Reviewed by Chase Hoffberger, May 24, 2013, Music


Live Fast Die Dumb (Gnar Tapes)

Punk music ain't nothing more than three chords and the truth. Or wait, that's supposed to be country. No matter: Ohio transplant Corey Baum and threadbare trio Dumb throw both schticks into the fryer and cook up a second collection – on cassette, no less – of shit-kicking slacker sonnets about East Austin l-i-v-i-n ("I Have No Idea What's Going On"). It doesn't take an etymologist to trace the tracks these songs traverse: "E.R. Blues," about the medical bills Baum can't pay; "Goddamn Trans Am," about the cars he can't afford. Then there's "Heather (You're So Cool)," about the girl behind the convenience store counter – a confession so common in Austin that hipster bros will wonder how they didn't write that first. Baum sings each with a derelict drawl and tongue taped to his cheek. Satire? Surely. Manufactured in a minute? Maybe. Yet as "That's More Like It" proves, Baum makes this country-punk marriage sound destined.


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