#23: No resemblance and a very sad doll
The St. Pierre Snake Invasion; A Wormhole Could Kill Us All; Just-In Beaver; Dad Sports
Let’s kick off #23 with a history lesson. In 1902, Mount Pelée, a volcano in Martinique erupted and destroyed the nearby town of St. Pierre in minutes, killing 30,000 people. It was the deadliest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. As awful as that sounds, some other nightmarish shit preceded the eruption. Per Earth magazine:
Perhaps most horrifying of all, though, was the plague of insects and snakes that slithered down from the mountain, disturbed by its paroxysms. Among the invaders were gigantic centipedes and deadly 2-meter long pit vipers, which claimed the lives of hundreds of livestock and about 50 people, according to some accounts. Soldiers shot the serpents in the streets in what would turn out to be a futile effort to protect the people of St. Pierre.
That sounds terrifying, though Loud and Quiet notes the St. Pierre Snake Invasion is “making hardcore punk as terrifying as the event they’re named after.” Giant centipedes and venomous snakes taking over a city ahead of a volcanic eruption that would soon destroy everything in its path, or shouty hardcore? Seven hundred-degree volcanic ash searing your skin and the inside of your lungs, or drop-D tuning? I mean, it’s hard to choose.
Sometimes there isn’t much more to a band than a silly name. Case in point: Reno, Nevada, surf-rock outfit A Wormhole Could Kill Us All. Dig a little deeper to find out their deal, and you won’t turn up much. They only have three songs on Bandcamp, all of them recorded on The Worst Little Podcast in the World—“the only podcast that is about Reno, from Reno and for Reno—and not much to say on their Facebook page. Their YouTube, which has the same three songs as their Bandcamp, at least has a bio, noting the AWCKUA came together during a bleak winter in Reno. “By adding together 3 parts surf, and 2 parts punk, they have concocted the perfect mixture of ferocity and groove.” Or, as Loud and Quiet would put it, “Grooves as ferocious as Priscilla Ford, who drove her car down a crowded Reno sidewalk on Thanksgiving Day 1980, killing seven people.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it here: Some names are so glaringly obvious, you can’t help but wonder how many artists lay claim to them. “Just-In Beaver” is one of them. In this case, it’s a “Just a guy and a gituair [sic],” says Facebook. But that gituarist isn’t the only one with Beaver on the brain. A pop-punk band from North Carolina goes (or went) by Justin Beaver, no hyphen, and released an EP called Justin Beaver is Dead way back in 2011. Check it out if you’re curious how Sum 41 would sound with a sillier name. Then there’s Just In Beaver—soundcloud.com/justbeaver—who has a song called “Lock Up Your Daughters (The Handsome Rapist),” tagged in Soundcloud as #cockrock. But the first thing that appears when you google “Just-In Beaver” are reviews for a Justin Bieber blow-up doll. Just admire the copy on the box:
I’m NOT GAY! (ok maybe a lil’)
Finally 18! Ready to Rock Your World!
BEAVER TELLS ALL! “Selena Can Suck The Gold Off My Grammy!”
“I FINALLY GOT LAID!” says Bieber in a pic, while a thought bubble on a woman (presumably Selena Gomez?) says “He Still Needs Practice!”
How would I classify the 88 reviews of the doll? They run the gamut from “Ha ha bought this as a joke, but it’s still super crappy” to “Please help me.” The top-rated “positive” review has the headline “It is Ok,” with this heart-breaking review: “I don't really use it for what it was meant for. I mostly wanted something that I could snuggle with when I am alone.” Less sad: “Waste of money sits under my bed. I have not used it since the first time. No resemblance and a very sad doll in any case.” Oh the doll is hardly the saddest part, friend. This one takes the cake though: “Funny gag gift for a friend, until I opened it. It may have been used. It was sticky in the mouth hole and behind area and the privates had brown stuff on it. I kid you not. Threw it away as soon as I saw that. Groas [sic]”
Quick, name what comes to mind when you think of “dad sports.”
Golf has to be No. 1 with a bullet, right?
Although my mind goes to softball, which my dad played into his 70s. But Jim Ryan appreciated golf enough to torture his family by watching it on TV and once advising my punk rock adolescent self to pick up the sport, because “business” gets done on the golf course. If he could only see his middle-aged son reading Amazon reviews of Justin Bieber fuck dolls. GOLF CAN’T HELP ME NOW, FATHER!
Dad Sports the band, not the concept, hails from Ottawa, Canada. Its label describes the group’s music as “notably lo-fi and soft,” adding, “The group sets themselves apart by their use of electronic drum machines and softly layered vocals to create a warm and nostalgic sound.” (Because I’m a pedantic jag, my first response to that was, “As opposed to analog drum machines?” Yes, I’m insufferable.)
Dad Sports began their musical journey in late 2018 with a song called “dog cuddles,” and have since released a slew of sensitive-boy songs, most of them with all-lowercase titles, like “out 4 a breather,” “nrvs again,” “if u want to !,” “gf haircut,” etc. You will not be surprised to learn that Dad Sports’ debut EP is called I AM JUST A BOY LEAVE ME ALONE !!! Perhaps you will be surprised by the attention the band has earned from the likes of The Fader, Stereogum, NPR, and others, along with the 4.1 million plays “out 4 a breather” has on Spotify. These are good times for sensitive boys.
I think Dad Sports should’ve called their EP Rad Shorts, but maybe I’m too stuck on the name.
The St. Pierre Snake Invasion’s 2019 album, Caprice Enchanté, is pretty good. I’m into it.
That Earth story has a whole section under a “Bad Omens” that describes the many other disturbing things happening in the lead up to Mount Pelée’s eruption in 1902. A mini eruption occurred in April, and the townspeople awoke the next morning to “birds that had plummeted from the air, weighted down by ash” and a bunch of dead fish in the water. The town’s river fluctuated wildly too, and just a few days before the eruption, a debris flow from the volcano flew down the mountain and crashed into the ocean, creating a 10-foot tsunami that flooded St. Pierre.
The only survivor, according to The Guardian, was a man named Louis-Auguste Cyparis, who being held in solitary confinement in the city’s jail. He would later tour with the Barnum & Bailey Circus, which promoted him as “the man who lived through Doomsday” or “the Most Marvelous Man in the World.”
No more disaster porn. Sorry.
Hello Defector readers! Thanks once again to Drew Magary for the shoutout.
OK, one more: “It gets the job done, but looks nothing like bieber. It has black hair and a very awkwardly shaped penis. But if you just want a blowup doll and dont care what it looks like, go for it.” Seize the day, y’all