The Lineup

Double Negative

Raleigh, NC

Double Negative doesn’t make sense. Frontman Kevin Collins and drummer Brian Walsby shed the trappings of their indie rock salad days—Collins as the leader of early Merge band Erectus Monotone and Walsby as skinsman for Polvo, the Ryan Adams-helmed Patty Duke Syndrome and the Mac McCaughan-helmed Wwax—to start a hardcore band.

But Double Negative isn’t a back-in-the-day throwback, or a slowed-and-mushy missed-shot: It’s the hardest-core hardcore band currently whipping punk kids half as old as the band’s members into foot- and fist-flailing mosh froths. Not content to color inside the lines, Double Negative has increasingly stretched their own sonic boundaries, incorporating fits of noise and dramatic dynamics that make an hour’s worth of every precious minute—and if it’s a Double Negative song, minutes are few

The band’s 2007 debut, The Wonderful and Frightening World of Double Negative, packed its 10 songs into 18 furious minutes. The follow-up, 2008’s Raw Energy EP, condensed the message even more, delivering all the power of the LP in the space of 7” instead of 12. The band, like Pecos Bill lassoing a tornado, steers the chaos with a powerful sense of direction and intention, even as the music threatens to careen out of control.

There’s a second full-length, too, the unfinished, Sonic Youth-referencing sophomore LP, DayDreamNation, which disappeared when the 16-track recording console Double Negative was using to record it was stolen in December. That wasn’t even the first setback in the making of the apparently cursed album. The lone track to have surfaced, a rough cut of “Super Recourse,” shows the band even more in control of its roiling, tempestuous punk rock. So Raleigh’s best hardcore band keeps getting better. And that lost album? We’re not qualified to handle it anyway. —Bryan Reed