When I was a young punk in the middle of the country, there was this somewhat well-off kid whose parents let us party in their huge basement. Bands would play and people would get wasted; the normal stuff. There’s a picture floating around somewhere on the old internet of me at one of those parties holding a milkshake in one hand and violently grabbing another mohawk’d human by the collar in the other. So tough.

Anyways, the last party those rich parents let that kid throw ended abruptly when the AC stopped working. Apparently some (early iteration of what we now know as) crust punks had found out about the party.

They had loitered in the backyard to huff all the freon.

Like the inhalant, the band is intoxicating; luring you in with a mind-melting instrumental intro. It’s Freon’s world from here on out and you’ve just stepped past the threshold. It picks up pace, pulling you along, and teeters at the edge of frenetic but stops short of chaos.

Fuck you and your god

Don’t let that fool you, though; just like the toxic chemical that freezes your lungs, Freon is out to cause brain damage. With members from Bad Example, Ruz, The Warden, Dentist, and Mom, this STL project is the ripper to lose a few brain cells to. When I caught up with their lead singer, Gurt, they told me that “a lot of the songs are about struggling with addiction and dysphoria. I’m really excited for the demo because even tho I’ve fronted a band before I feel like I was able to find a new level of vulnerability writing words to songs I love a lot written by some my best friends.”

Put me down, on the ground
Let me out, let me out, let me out
I don’t think I’m doing it right
I can’t eat
I don’t think
I can’t sleep at night

Each track that follows pushes past that frenetic edge and runs wild. The raw emotions cut deep. It’s an angry depression. A helpless cry for assistance from an animal too rabid to be answered. Freon is the wild, caged beast that keeps getting poked and provoked. Whether it’s feeling broke, feeling dysphoric, or feeling abused, there’s a lot to snort on this release. But it’s worth the snuff.

I can’t take a shit without my phone
can’t work a double on dope
can’t afford a whole gram of coke
can’t find a new way to cope

STL is in a major resurgence for punk. A lot of eggheads are moving there and starting new projects. While this is a supergroup of familiar faces, it’s a telltale sign of the future for all the weirdos in the midwest. Freon is leading the charge of angry punks stuck in a cycle of going to bar after bar and bathroom to bathroom; avoiding all the trappings of the night life coke binges and night shift food service follies.

I don’t like me anymore
I don’t wanna be me anymore
I don’t like me anymore
I don’t wanna be here anymore

PYK was recently released on 11PM Records. Check out their Bandcamp to order a cassette and listen to other great bands on the label.