Paint it Red

Tuneage // Cristina Black // June/July 2010
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Paint it Red

It’s customary, when a band puts out a new album, to play a show in their hometown to celebrate. A show, as in one set, maybe an encore. Well, when the Soft Pack’s self-titled album came out earlier this year, they decided to play ten. In one day. “The hardest part was around show seven,” says bass player Dave Lantzman. “I was like, okay we’ve played for hours now. Let’s go to sleep. This is ridiculous.” But they pressed on, from 10 in the morning to 1 o’clock that night, meandering around L.A. from location to location in a veggie oil-powered bus courtesy of Sean Carlson, promoter of L.A.’s punk-spirited F Yeah Fest. “I thought it might be a problem because of my voice,” says lead singer Matt Lamkin. “I thought I’d lose it like four shows in, but I came out of the whole thing a stronger singer.”

A Foam favorite since they were known as the Muslims—they ditched that name due to inevitable misinterpretation—the Soft Pack was originally a San Diego band steeped in the garage-punk tradition. After a buzzed-over debut full-length, they decamped for L.A. in 2008 and began work on a second chapter of straight-ahead rock. The result, spearheaded by the no-frills scorcher “C’Mon” is a classic ten-song set that’s over in 30 seconds flat, the perfect basis for the marathon tear the band went on upon its release: short, sweet, powerful. The single “Answer to Yourself” is a highlight, a Replacements-esque self-reliance anthem that encourages risk taking. “I wrote that song for my friends who have jobs that are merely paying the bills,” says Lamkin. “It’s about making that leap of faith at your own destiny.” If that means showing the mettle to play ten sets in a day, then the Soft Pack is fated for brilliance.

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Originally published in June/July 2010

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