Hardcore punk has always had a special place in Memphis, even if its history tends to be overshadowed by the other, more presentable facets of the music scene. From Clenched Fist to Copout, numerous local hardcore bands have gained national attention and a loyal following over the years, even if their local shows didn't reflect the overall hype. Gimp Teeth is no exception to this rule, and, while they may not follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned local hardcore luminaries, the band has been gaining steady local attention since playing their first show in the fall of last year.
Made up of current and former Memphis College of Art students, Gimp Teeth delivers short blasts of hardcore punk in the vein of Dischord Records greats like SOA or Red C. The performances are short and chaotic (20 minutes at the most), with front man Cole Wheeler rarely coming up for air while the band blasts behind him. All the fat has been chewed out of Gimp Teeth's music, meaning the songs are almost always under two minutes, with minimal solos and maximum energy.
Yes, it's ok to call this type of music stripped-down and primitive. In a lot of ways, that's the basis of its appeal. As the early '80s suburban answer to punk rock, hardcore stripped away the artsy façade and leveled the playing field for disgruntled adolescents wanting to make a racket.
Judging by the live show, Gimp Teeth seems to have found the sound they were looking for, and with rumors of new recordings coming soon, they are a band that any fan of local, aggressive music should be paying attention to.
— Chris Shaw
Gimp Teeth, Stale Phish, Mouthreader, and SVU at Murphy's Friday, March 14th, 10 p.m. Doors open at 9 p.m. $5.