For Alex Petralia, what started out as a home recording project quickly turned into an acerbic and almost pious assault when Stunted – his sometime sonic-side line, recorded in between vocal obligations for Bay Area punks Nopes – finally landed on a theme for his first solo release.
“I always wanted to make music at my own pace and involve various friends to contribute instrumentation,” says Petralia of his new album Fault. “The project became more focused with the inclusion of the overall theme of the seven cardinal sins for the seven tracks. That was always a big thing that stuck with me growing up as a kid. Having Catholicism and all its fun narratives shoved down my throat.”
Stereo-fed on the sweaty decibels of early Californian proto-punk and hardcore provocateurs such as The Germs, Black Flag, and The Dead Kennedys, Petralia plied his trade by night in DIY spaces, house parties and garages as erratic front man for Nopes. (“The Bay Area’s well of great scuzzy garage rock never seems to run dry. Add to the list of Thee Oh Sees, Mikal Cronin, Ty Segall, et al, young Oaklanders Nopes” – Consequence of Sound)
“What really pushed the theme even further was the constant reminder of how prevalent the filth of it all is in San Francisco. The city has experienced quite a shift beyond the tech industry boom, and the uber-rich have created such a bubble of existence in which they let their pride, greed, gluttony and envy dictate their lives. Writing songs and lyrics for Stunted came pretty easily. Just take a bus for an hour in the city these days and you can write an album like this too.”
Driven by an appreciation for the Beastie Boys, Beck and Steve Albini, Fault is for all intents and purposes a darker affair than Nopes’ typical output. Despite it still provoking a burning heart and championing that unmistakable fury of being young, gifted and ultimately unaccountable, it’s further fuelled by wanton sugar intake, corner store liqueur and well-worn copies of Negative FX and Bad Brains records.
“All seven songs were recorded at either a shitty SF apartment, or an even shittier practice space in the Tenderloin,” explains Petralia. “I just wanted to do some dark industrial shit but without getting too into spiders and click tracks. It was a challenge getting the album recorded in a complex where the walls are so thin. The track ‘Wrath’ in particular invoked the anger from my neighbours and cops who kept showing up that night.”
With Petralia handling vocals, song writing duties, guitar, drum machine beats and bass guitar for Stunted, he’s joined on a number of tracks by fellow Nopes Eagret Hansen on guitar, Gabe Simmons on drums and close friend and SF musician Marisela Guizar on saxophone.
Fault is the first official release on new record label Drwg Music* which was formed earlier this year by Bristol-based publicist and founder of Sheltered Life PR, Richard S Jones.
Fault by Stunted is released on 23rd February 2018.
*Pronounced ‘droog/druːɡ’, Welsh for ‘Bad’