How much noise can two people make? ‘68 is the sound of simultaneous implosion and explosion, of destruction and creation unbound. These are songs that could almost fall apart at any moment, yet never do, devilishly dancing between life and death. It’s a primitive impulse delivered with postmodern purpose; a blacksmith’s resolve with an arsenal of electric distortion and raw nerve.
Josh Scogin kickstarted his small band with the big sound in 2013, naming the two-man outfit he modestly undersells as “a little rock, a little blues, a little hardcore” after his father’s old Camaro. And there’s a muscle car-sized rumble beneath the hood of what the Atlanta, Georgia native and his percussive partner-in-crime, Nikko Yamada, unleash with an array of guitar, bass, drums, keys, and pedals, careening between swinging barnburners, wild haymakers, and moody atmosphere.
The ’68 roadshow has taken them from Moscow to Tel Aviv, across Europe and Australia and all-over North America, often splitting up 20-hour drives between the two guys. The passion, the hunger, the good humor, it all connects with diverse crowds. Deliciously stripped down and vibrant, ’68 excels in intimate environments, to be sure, but is no less unignorable on giant festival stages or on the road with Bring Me The Horizon, Stone Sour, Beartooth, Avatar, August Burns Red, The Amity Affliction, and Underoath, where they’ve earned new converts every day.
In Humor and Sadness, the first album by ’68, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard New Artist Chart. Two Parts Viper followed in 2017. “[‘68] bring the noise in the most righteous ways, caring less about the scene they came up through, the bloodless drivel that passes as ‘indie’ and the boring earnestness currently permeating ‘punk,’” declared Alternative Press. “Two Parts Viper is the best record of the year. Throw a copy in my casket, because I’ll never be done listening to it.”
Grammy-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Alice In Chains) became a believer after just a few songs of a ’68 set. On Give One Take One, crafted with Raskulinecz in Nashville, the band’s high intensity bombast threatens but never swallows the underlying groove.
With the same spirit of scrappy “winging it” and punchy minimalism that powered the Flat Duo Jets and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, ’68 push forward the pure rock traditions of audacity and disruption. Scogin gives everything to the microphone, as if singing to redeem his soul. He wields his guitar and keys like weapons, pulverizing away any false pretenses. It’s about the riff and the kick. It’s immediate. It’s alive. And it’s fun. Sweaty catharsis, cutting missives, surrendered by ’68 as if the world depends on them. Because in ’68, less is more. Oh, so much more.