In punk, a genre that prizes burning fast and bright, it’s rare for a band to make it to their third album. Greensboro, North Carolina’s Totally Slow have arrived at theirs with renewed energy, a revamped lineup, and an inspired, collaborative songwriting process, resulting in Casual Drag, their sharpest collection of melodic hardcore anthems yet.
After a series of livewire basement shows and sweaty van tours in several bands over the years, Scott Hicks and Andy Foster formed Totally Slow in 2013, releasing a self-titled LP of driving, catchy punk shortly after. Razorcake Magazine called the ten-song debut “well planned and masterful,” saying that the debut “…goes off without a hitch. It’s perfect.”
After 2016 LP Bleed Out’s “powerful, pedal-to-the-metal pop”, Totally Slow went into flux, speeding up their songs for the Imperium EP and introducing guitarist Chuck Johnson (Torchrunner, Gut Feeling), then recalibrating their lineup. Now on Refresh Records, their third LP, Casual Drag, introduces bassist Kate Weigand (Saucer) and a more collaborative approach to songwriting. Inspiration struck when this new lineup gelled, and the band that you hear on Casual Drag plays with a collar-clutching urgency that represents the vision of this new collective of people.
Scott Hicks (vocalist/guitarist) tells No Echo, “‘Dead Skater’ was a name I tossed onto a riff demo and then found myself writing lyrics around because I liked the way it hit,” says Totally Slow guitarist/vocalist Scott Hicks. “Beating myself up for complaining when everything’s ok, and wondering if I’ll look back and keep hating myself about it when my time’s up. We tip-toe around surf licks without fully leaning in. That’s how I learned to play guitar — somewhere between my dad’s Ventures LPs and then later drawing lines around that sound and the Agent Orange and Dead Kennedy’s cassettes getting passed around on the school bus.”
On Casual Drag’s ten streamlined songs, you’ll hear razor-sharp, no-frills melodic hardcore, with angry lyrics that show how the personal is inseparable from the political when the country is on the brink of chaos. For this bracing album, Totally Slow has combined the melodic anthems of 1980s SoCal bands like The Adolescents, Agent Orange and The Faction, with the skewed rawk of ‘90s San Diego bands Drive Like Jehu and Truman’s Water, and the righteous conviction of classic DC hardcore like Dag Nasty, Gray Matter and Fugazi. Not only does Totally Slow burn bright on Casual Drag, but they also feed the fire.
Pre-order the upcoming album Casual Drag here: https://refr.sh/casualdrag