Scum-pop blasters Vaz are a consistently underrated Brooklyn treasure. Vocalist/guitarist Paul Erickson and spasmodic herky-jerk drummer Jeff Moordian have outlived all your favorite scenes–both emerged from the distressed clobber of AmRep stalwarts Hammerhead and released full-length records on practically every cool label in the ’00s (Gold Standard Labs, Load, Narnack). Their fifth album, Chartreuse Bull (Damaged Rituals), adds second guitarist Tyler Nolan and accidentally stumbles into the cassette Renaissance. Their first tape release (and easily their most aggro to date), Bull is 11 charred burners as taut and ugly as secretly bubblegum as anything in their gotta-catch-em-all catalog. Their ill-tempered blast and squawk updates AmRep’s sinister sizzle for more extreme days, still teasing it with the boldest, brashest, shiniest hooks in the nu-pigfuck underground–think Queens Of The Stone Age getting a Pissed Jeans makeunder. Album highlight “Blockade” is two minutes of swinging-from-the-rafters grime-bluster that somehow lets Erickson’s ghostly melodies shine through some fairly merciless muck.
What is “Blockade” about?
It’s about writer’s block! I was thinking about how I couldn’t think of anything and then thought of it! [Musically,] I think it’s inspired by my Norwegian DNA. Working with [producer] Ben Greenberg is just the tops. No fuss, no hassle.
One thing that’s always made Vaz stick out is the boldness of your hooks. Are there any contemporary major-label rock bands you secretly love?
Drawing a blank here.
Why did you release your new album on cassette?
One reason for the cassette was the time factor. We had a tour coming up and wanted it out now.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in New York?
Opening for the Fall at Knitting Factory. Not my favorite, but the most memorable.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New York?
M. Wells in Long Island City!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 19, 2011