Slow Walker is a curious name for a band that operates at such a frantic pace. The garage rock outfit put out three full-lengths between 2011 and 2014. Last year saw the release of two cassettes: a collection of old B-sides called Hot Walks and a bushel of bananas rock and roll songs called Robert Plantain’s Grunge Lords Vol. 1. Since putting out those records last March, Slow Walker lost a founding member, yet the amicable departure of singer-guitarist Andy Patterson last summer wasn’t enough to slow down one of Milwaukee’s most quietly productive bands.
Last August, Slow Walker spent a weekend in the home of singer-guitarist Justin Harris’ parents (who were away on vacation), where they self-recorded the songs for Command Z. The home-brewed six-pack of songs finds Slow Walker—now pared down to a three-piece—delving deeper into the realm of psych rock than ever before. “Basement” is an up-tempo ripper that’s almost entirely instrumental and rife with shredding guitar that soars above a driving bass line. It gives way to “Lizard Brain,” which is the closest thing to a single the EP offers through its harsh, distorted vocals about a “reptile man with scales instead of skin.”
“Woolen Relief” brings about a sleek, almost trance-like aura with a walking bass line, hypnotic drum beat, effect-laden guitar parts, and chanting vocals. It pairs nicely with “Ether,” a fuzzy traipse into psychedelic territory that comes complete with a heavy late-song jam session. With a healthy dose of wah pedal, dirty instrumentation, and screeching solos, “Hot Box The Chevy” is a grimy, drugged-up album ender that Slow Walker has sort of touched upon before, but now feels fully at home within. Though the band reduced its ranks by 25 percent and simplified things, Slow Walker trots out its A-game on Command Z.
Before Slow Walker digitally releases Command Z on its Bandcamp page and plays in support of Platinum Boys and Wet Piss at High Dive on Friday, February 3, stream the EP in its entirety now, only at Milwaukee Record.