What is Rock n’ Roll? Is Rock n’ Roll a sound? Is it a feeling? Is it an enigma? Rock n’ Roll is about hard work. It’s about connecting. Degreaser connects. Degreaser works hard. Degreaser is true to themselves and what they love. In true Rock n’ Roll, it’s cool to try hard, it shows that you care. No one shreds like Degreaser—well people have, but not this hard since the ’80s. On Ben Katzman’s new album, Venus in Pisces, he contemplates growing up and breaking up. All of the Ben Katzman’s Degreaser albums have been a little conceptual, February’s Rok n’ Rol Community College had the idea that school blows, and his first self-titled cassette was an intro to Degreaser of sorts. The releases have been short, but accomplishing a lot. He’s been taking the most universal problems and emotions of people in their young twenties and turning them in to complete rock n’ roll. It’s like glam rock with more easily relatable topics. People like Ben Katzman and the Degreaser crew are keeping rock n’ roll from being over.
Ben Katzman is 100% himself all the time, and I’ve written this before, but he is heavily influenced by his idols, KISS and Van Halen, but it doesn’t feel like he is copying them, it feels like he is sharing what his icons embody and mean to him. And on the new album, Venus in Pisces, he is paying plenty of homage with the heavy rolling drums and the incendiary guitars. As a former Bostonian and future New Yorker, Katzman quickly outgrew Boston, he’s got a lot to do and can’t get it done in one place, as contemplated on “Home Alone III.” Astrology runs heavy throughout the album, hence the title, and the lyric “You’re only keeping me around because your Venus is in Gemini” on “You Shred (But You’re Really Just Playing Me).” The highest energy song is “Record Store Babe,” about being super into a cool girl who works at a record store and just wanting her to “give me a recommendation.” Cool talking breakdowns between songs give analysis of Katzman’s personality and his ex-girlfriend. And on his most personal yet, he digs deep into his past relationships on the ballad-like “The Lesson Learned” and “Heartbreak Relapse,” which is quickly followed by the hardcore “Sad Boi 2 Bad Boi.” This track summarizes the whole album, the concept of transitioning from Sad Boi 2 Bad Boi, and being a Bad Boi who sometime feels like Sad Boi. The whole album is fun electric guitar with catchy lyrics and big riffs. Ben Katzman’s Degreaser is Rock n’ Roll.
You can get the new album October 30th on Katzman’s own BUFU Records.
Also see Ben Katzman’s Degreaser play the Great Scott with Mannequin Pussy and Puppy Problems on Sunday, November 8th.