When we caught up with King Eye & The Squirts in late 2017, the Milwaukee garage rock outfit was preparing to release its self-titled debut LP. Meanwhile, singer-guitarist Steven Look was just getting back to normal after sustaining a work-related injury that put him in a coma for three days and nearly cost him his life. With a new lease on life and new material in the band’s catalog, Look and company set out to self-record a split EP with their friends in Saebra & Carlyle that would be released before the end of 2018. The universe had other plans.
Look says the Saebra & Carlyle side wound up sounding “glaringly muddy and distorted” when the test presses came back, which the King Eye front man blames solely on “[his] amateurism as an engineer.” In the months that followed, money was saved, time was booked with Shane Hochstetler at Howl Street Recordings, and the B-side of the album—the Saebra & Carlyle side, for those of you keeping score at home—was completely re-done. Almost exactly one year removed from sending off that bad batch of audio files to a pressing company, the twice-attempted record is finally ready to see the light of day.
Adorned what Look calls “Dr. Dre-derived imagery” that he hand-sketched, Spliff EP—a THC-tinged take on “Split EP”—features two songs from each band on a 12-inch record. Though he acknowledges the release’s name and its artwork might lead some to think Spliff EP is a nonchalant effort, Look is quick to assure listeners “this ‘casual’ record was written, recorded, funded, and released independently, and with more blood, sweat, and tears than than the average LP.”
That attention is evident in “Change Of Address,” a blunt and boisterous three-minute commentary on disappointment and a rally cry against what Look calls “toxic elements of old school bar culture.” Before Friday’s long-awaited King Eye & The Squirts/Saebra & Carlyle Spliff EP release show at X-Ray Arcade, listen to “Change Of Address” now.