Artist Home Premiere: “Loser” by Killer Workout

Artist Home Premiere Record Review

Artist Home Premiere: “Loser” by Killer Workout

Anthony Darnell and Adrienne Clark, giving their synths a (wait for it) Killer Workout.

I am genetically predisposed to appreciate any band that names itself after a trashy ‘80s horror movie. Combine that with a snotty, irresistible three-minute blast of a song, and a video for that song comprised entirely of clips from Plan 9 from Outer Space, and you can color me smitten. 

You can also color Artist Home proud to be premiering “Loser,” the incredibly rad song and video from Seattle’s Killer Workout.  

Killer Workout (the band, not the movie) have been making a name for themselves with a bright, infectious, danceable sound that coats everything great about post-punk and new wave with grindhouse movie-theater popcorn butter. Happily, it’s a sound that also sports some sharp metaphoric choppers with a mean bite. 

“Loser” stands tall and proudly gawky as shit, KW’s entry in rock and roll’s long line of classic misfit anthems. Guitarist Reed Griffin fires off stripped-down garage rock chords. Singer Anthony Darnell yelps out the lyrics like a defiantly cocky version of Mark Mothersbaugh. Darnell’s and fellow keyboardist Adrienne Clark’s weird-assed squiggly synth noises augment the effectively stripped-down rhythm section from drummer Bob Husak and bassist Jon Swihart. And it’s engineered to get you to jump around. 

Lest you think KW are Schlocky-come-Latelies, they’ve chosen spot-perfect visual accompaniment. Ed Wood Jr., the auteur behind Plan 9 from Outer Space, was a singular character who represented, almost by accident, the liberating joy of flying your geek flag proudly. So when Darnell sings, “I’m a loser/you’re a loser too,” it serves as a swaggering call to arms for geeks everywhere, and a most satisfying zero-fucks-given kiss-off, with equally lethal efficiency.

As if that isn’t enough, the premiere of the “Loser” video offers a great excuse to plug Four : Three, the recently-released three-song EP housing that track. The EP’s a great, hook-filled testimonial to the band’s versatility: The unashamedly glossy, heart-on-sleeve breakup anthem, “Too Late,” sounds like a shoo-in for the soundtrack of that teen horror movie John Hughes never directed. And “Figure It Out” mines a hip-shaking groove of the most ravishing, stormy goth/new wave variety, below a chorus that effectively burrows its way into your head.

Speaking of effectively burrowing its way into your head, the band’s video for “Figure It Out,” which surfaced a few weeks ago, is entirely comprised of clips from The Driller Killer, a 1979 grindhouse horror classick about a nutty artist who begins wiping out his enemies and innocent homeless people with, yup, a power drill. The squalid grittiness makes for a wonderfully surreal—and resolutely, bloodily NSFW—contrast to the alluring pull of the song (take a peek if you dare, but don’t tell anyone I sent you). 

God bless your consistency, Killer Workout. And keep flying that Geek Flag high.

(Four: Three by Killer Workout is available via the band’s Bandcamp page.)

Tony Kay

Tony Kay