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Lucidity and the Apocalypse: A Look At BODY FARM and DRY SOCKET’s Vengeful BODY//SOCKET

Splits often function as stop-gaps between longer releases, keeping fans engaged in the midst of an increasingly content-saturated culture where attention is a precious commodity. These releases are sometimes label-curations, sometimes tour mementos, sometimes opportunities to demo new material, and sometimes collections of artists’ b-sides that otherwise would have no home. Sometimes, though, splits transcend the format, drawing abstract alliances between diverse projects and creating a unified artistic statement that is greater than the sum of its parts. These splits stand the test of time and become time-capsules for specific genre-phases. Man is the Bastard/Capitalist Casualties, Orchid/Pig Destroyer, Coalesce/Converge, Modern Life is War/Kill Your Idols, Regional Justice Center/Wound Man, Spazz/Charles Bronson, and, of course, The Faith/Void, are only a few of the still rare splits that continue to exist as testimonials to the very special musical moments during which they were created.

Released on Blind Rage and King of the Monsters, Body//Socket, the new split-LP release by Body Farm and Dry Socket, captures the intricate pivot points of modern punk and hardcore, and it has the potential to teach future generations about today’s nuanced musical ecosystem.

Each emerging within the last five years, both bands have earned dedicated fanbases as well as critical acclaim, having demonstrated an earnestness about their songcraft as well as a sincerity about their messaging. Defying easy categorization or comparison, Body Farm and Dry Socket have carved their own grooves that have allowed them to perform and tour with a broad range of household names from across the punk-hardcore spectrum. Despite these similarities, the alignment of the acts on this fantastic release was not a foregone conclusion. The bands have developed their own distinct approaches to the style, having singular sounds that make them easy to pick out of a playlist and that make them very different from one another. That said, these differences also make them perfect complements to one another, making the split a surprising but exhilerating experience.

Body Farm’s approach to punk and hardcore is free, experimental, playful, and expresses a vibrance that borders on jubilance. Even as they express a focused hostility against interlocking systems of injustice, the attitude confers a feeling of unity and of eventual triumph. Following a well-chosen Tucker Carlson sample, Body Farm’s side begins with “Trans Day of Vengeance,” whose paired bridge and refrain read as “Respect is not up for debate/Don’t know how much I can take/Our chain is one they can’t break!” and “And we can burn it all down/Trans Day of Vengeance now!” with these lines serving as dual thesis statements for the side as a whole and, in fact, for the band’s career thus far. Vocalist Ocean’s voice is shouted rather than screamed, giving the impression of a protest-leader more than of a hardcore vocalist. With reverb often added to their vocals, the effect is that of a crowd of joined voices, speaking truth to power and realizing the strength in their numbers. With songs touching on hard topics such as the dangers of trusting the government (“The Plan”), religious delusion (“Endless Psychosis”), asymmetric romantic relationships (“Love is…”), late-stage capitalism (“Revolution with Friends”), and domestic violence (“Wrath”), Body Farm makes the most of their side of the split, drawing attention to the intertwined violences of the political and the personal, all over innovative and enervating instrumentation full of that reminds the listener of how fun punk can be even when it is deadly serious.

Body Farm

If Body Farm’s work is a reminder that we can find victory against the oppressive forces of the world through unity and shared humanity, Dry Socket is a sobering message that this harmonious triumph can only be fueled by a furnace of fury. The righteous anger that has become a kind of calling-card for Dry Socket is more potent and justified than ever on this split. Coming right off an emotionally complex and soul-examining debut LP, Sorry For Your Loss, Dry Socket explode on this split with bare knuckles and bared teeth. “Abomination” is a galloping, sneering tantrum against queerphobia that gives the impression of vocalist Dani grabbing bigots by the collar and screaming blood and sputum into their faces. “Unripe” is a rollicking metallic piece about manipulative and misogynistic policies enacted in the name of protecting “life.” “Lucid” explores a vast range of sonic terrain as it meditates the literal heat-death of climate catastrophe as well as the figurative one precipitated by the mental breakage of living in an age of polycrisis. “Sparks” and “Banking Hours” continue to explore the subtle interweavings of mental health issues that never abate, especially when juxtaposed with ceaseless global injustices, reiterating the imbrication of personal and political trauma explored by Body Farm.

Dry Socket. Photo by Andrew Navarette.

Dry Socket conclude their side with the riff- and tremolo-driven “Done,” a circle-pitting and two-stepping crowd-signing anthem that serves to perfectly bookend Body Farm’s opening. Recalling the major themes of the split’s collected songs, this darker-half of the LP ends with an affirmation that is also a call to action “We don’t need justice/We’re taking revenge!”

During a moment when punk and hardcore are finding wider and more diverse audiences than ever, during a moment when more and more artists are willing to dissolve the lines between subgenres, during a moment when small labels have voices equal in might and reach to major ones, Body//Socket serves as a perfect exemplar to what is great about punk today. It is a revitalizing testimonial to the power of punk to inspire the complacent, to energize the resigned, and to aggravate the forlorn. This fantastic release has every right to stand the test of time, and it is a valuable reminder of the power of artists unifying over a common vision.

Cvlt Nation talked to Body Farm and Dry Socket about Body//Socket.

CVLT: While both bands have performed together before, and while they both have earned devoted audiences thanks to excellent songwriting and a similarly tireless work ethic, many fans would not immediately put these two projects together stylistically. Can you talk about how the split came about?

BF: In early 2023 after selling out of our Living Hell 12” EP, we told Gwen of Blind Rage Records who had helped with the release “We should do a split next,” and Gwen said “Ok. Do it with Dry Socket”… and that was it. As we were both Blind Rage label mates (Dry Socket – “Shiver” 7″ 2021) already it made sense to everyone on this end. We reached out, and Dry Socket was in! 

We had already done a split 7” with Slutbomb in 2020 and wanted to do something bigger. We LOVE the old school 12” splits – Blatz / Filth, Faith/Void, Life’s Halt / What Happens Next, Misery / Extinction of Mankind – then combining the band names like the classic Municipal Waste / Toxic Holocaust split “TOXIC WASTE”… BODY // SOCKET… it just sounded brutal. It was one of those “that would be sick…” but then we actually got to do it. 

We didn’t have a set timeline as we were both very busy, so we just let it fall into place as we were able. It ended up taking almost a year and a half from idea, to recording, to organizing, to pressing and releasing. 

CVLT: Dry Socket is fresh off a fantastic debut LP, Sorry For Your Loss. This release is sonically a somewhat different direction, and deals seriously though differently with feelings of anger. How was the transition to working on this project?

DS: Sorry For Your Loss was extremely emotional, written amongst grief and the pandemic. I think it would have been really easy to get caught up in trying to replicate the sound and feeling of that record, but that wouldn’t honor the intention of the LP to be very time-and-place specific. Writing the LP, we were all in a pretty terrible headspace- grieving, depressed and isolated amongst so many other things. I wouldn’t call it a concept album, but we went for a theme and wanted people to be able to connect to the feelings of early pandemic. We came into writing this record feeling much more a sense of community and wanting to capture the fun of playing shows again. Lyrically, it’s a personal movement from grief and hopelessness, to absolute rage with the intention to burn it all down. The songs are a little simpler and meant to be more accessible than the LP. Lyrically, this record is much more straightforward than pretty much anything I’ve written before, but I think is still classically Dry Socket in sound and anger. This is the first record where Geoff did all of the writing as well, as our previous other guitarist moved to the East Coast. 

CVLT: Body Farm is adapting to a new geographical situation for the band. How has that shift influenced the band’s creative process? How has the new landscape impacted the already very political and topical focus?

BF: We had always been spread across Ohio from the beginning, so the move to PA was actually closer to our bassist. This project has always relied on a thriving group chat where we share ideas, memes, and just keep in touch almost every day… all day. It makes our limited time together between working schedules something to look forward to. Moving to a new city where we are able to expand into a different, thriving Punk and Hardcore community has been inspiring. The first song we wrote in the new location was “Sadistic Game,” and we wanted to make it feel very Steel City. Pittsburgh has a different vibe than Ohio, but politically they are very similar in that our health, environment, human rights are all constantly at risk. Working and living in the Rust Belt is a trip because there’s the crumbling of industrial factories that are simultaneously being reclaimed by nature. We still have a very strong Ohio bond with both Darrell and Steven living in the Columbus Area. 

Body Farm. Photo by @crowncitykid

CVLT: For both bands, how was writing for this split different from writing for single-band releases? Especially with a rare split-LP, how do you approach putting the sides in conversation with one another? What can you do with a split that you can’t do otherwise?

BF: When we first started discussing this release, there were conversations of general topics that we were planning to speak on. SO much was happening in the world as it ALWAYS is, but it was important to me for our thoughts to be complete but digestible. It’s always been our goal that lyrics convey a complete message that people can easily understand and resonate with. Then we got the great opportunity to work together on the cover artwork (by Azeta) and the layout and how we wanted this release to look and feel.  A split allows us as artists to lift each other up and unite in a similar message. It illuminates similarities that you may not have seen until it was presented together. Creating bridges that you didn’t know existed until you flip the record over and go “oh yeah”… 

DS: Body Farm was a band we’ve followed for a long time. They are politically outspoken and wildly fun. Splits can be a challenge, not only working in collaboration but also writing songs that are meant to be played alongside another band’s music. We discussed lyrical themes and felt on the same page on wanting this to be a release that did not hold back on the topics we care about. I love that, while sonically the sides are different, it still feels very compatible in the emotions and anger presented. I think splits often get overlooked when they are put out, but we look back at so many of them as how we got introduced to bands we love. A split makes you check out new music, and hopefully our listeners discover how great Body Farm is. 

CVLT: The songs on this project feel very present, very urgent. Can you talk about how you approach art when fans and creators alike are caught between feelings of helplessness and immediacy?

BF: As heavy as Body Farm can be, a lot of what we write is about BIG feelings that we find really hard to process in other ways. There’s a sense of urgency because the timeline for radical change cannot come soon enough. It was alarming to witness scientists locking themselves to banks and protesting in the name of our climate crisis. The doom can easily sink in when a person sits with the weight of multiple genocides taking place in the name of our comfort and consumption. We are artists who have the privilege of being given a platform so there is a sense of responsibility to give people hope and a wake-up call. With this recording, starting fresh and writing so much new material for it, we had an opportunity to be as current as possible. 

DS: Body Farm is spot on with what they said. The added challenge of having to wait for a physical record to be made should be mentioned as well. It feels like every week or day something new and screwed up is happening and needs to be addressed or supported. As soon as you get a grasp on your life, a new bomb is dropped to make things that much harder. It can be hard to navigate creating art that has longevity while also connecting to what is happening in the moment. A song written today might not hit people in the same way by the time a record is released months and months later. There is a sweet spot of capturing a period of time or an immediate topic and having it be able to feel applicable to present emotions. We are so proud of this split. Both bands worked to create something that we feel captures the urgency of the topics presented while having a strong universal emotional hook.

Dry Socket. Photo by Shawn Robbins.

CVLT: Many topics that these bands focus on—e.g., queerness, gender identity, mental health, sex work, grief, anger, human rights—are more important and more charged than seemingly ever before in our lifetimes. How do you engage with these themes now that they have become such household topics of contentious conversation?

BF: All of these topics are part of our daily life, so until there is liberation for all of us, we will continue to speak on it. Conversations alone aren’t going to bring about the things we hope for. If the messages we share and the education we uplift inspires someone to approach life in a more community-minded way, I’ll be happy. When someone at a show tells me we inspired them to create art and confidently speak their truth, we are happy.

DS: I often think about what a difference it would have made for me growing up if the loudest voices in my life about these topics had been different. We live in a time when it’s no longer just our parents, teachers or peers doing damage with their perspectives on these topics; it’s social media, politicians, the news — louder and meaner. While a band or a song isn’t going to bring about systemic change, by creating spaces and being as loud as possible about queerness, gender, mental health, genocide etc, etc, I hope we can drown out some the horrific things that make people feel anything but valid, cherished, and happy. 

CVLT: What do you love about punk and hardcore right now? What should change?

BF: Modern hardcore is doing a couple things right now: genre-blending or 40 years of capital H Hardcore and we are here for both. There are lots of zines, lots of photogs, lots of blogs, lots of videographers, lots of “content,” and LOTS of new kids which is awesome… but that comes with returning themes that we thought we were past. Lots of the same things that happen when the waves of any scene come and go over the years. It’s a three steps forward two steps back situation, but it continually marches forward in a positive direction. We really wanna see more mixed-bill shows because there has been a separation of the two in certain spaces, and it doesn’t add up. 

DS: Hardcore right now is at such a weird place. For the first time ever, a lot of the biggest bands have queer and femme people in them, which is amazing. Simultaneously, it feels like there is a backlash to that. Bands are using words on stage we thought were retired and being proudly apolitical, if not worse. There are so many amazing shows where every band has some level of diversity in their members, but just as many where it feels purposeful that none of the bands do. We love being a part of what I am sure we will look back on as an important wave of freaks, queers, and femmes taking up space in Punk and Hardcore, but there is still so much work to be done. 

CVLT: What was it like working with Blind Rage and King of the Monsters?

BF: Gwen who runs Blind Rage has always been extremely supportive and excited to work with bands who go outside the box in every way when it comes to Punk and Hardcore. She gave us a chance, and together we have done some really great stuff. Mike and King of the Monsters has consistently put out solid releases over the years, and much like Blind Rage, it is an honor to have our art next to so many talented bands and people.

DS: Putting out a record on King Of The Monsters is a bucket list item for us. Mike has released some pretty wild things over the years, and we are so stoked to be a part of that. Blind Rage has supported us from the start and seems to have a magic touch on choosing the bands she puts out. Both are a dream to work with. 

CVLT: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

BF/DS: Free Palestine!

Written By

Evan lives in Arizona and works as an English and History teacher. He loves to learn new things and meet new people.

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