Album Review – The Wheelers: Bubix

The Wheelers – Bubix EP

The Wheelers are a pan-Iowan band with members scattered between Iowa City and Ames. Other joint efforts between these two cities often result in heavy drinking, name calling and injuries and, while I can’t confirm that The Wheelers encounter a similar fate when they get together, the teetering energy here is very much the same.

Bubix is the title of The Wheelers’ latest 4-song effort and their third release since the band formed in 2004. The lineup has tended to shift over the years as members assumed other roles or stepped out, but each release seems to hold on to their basic formula derived from equal parts Pavement and Sonic Youth.

Peeling away the flesh of the guitars and vocals you expose the gleaming bones of Bubix: the martial drumming of Dave Olson (who now has a full-time gig in Poison Control Center) and the dry, but slightly distorted lockstep bass of Phil Young. Dave and Phil deftly assemble the skeleton of the songs on which Greg Meister and Ian Williams drape their slippery vocals and guitars.

Blood On The Vinyl–the label owned by the guys in The P.C.C.–released 200 copies of Bubix in packages that recall the D.I.Y. aesthetic of early punk singles. It comes with a 7” vinyl, a CD-R, a color photo of the band and photocopied cover art and lyric sheet. Look for it on the band’s website, at shows, or in Iowa City at The Record Collector.

While it is convenient that you get a CD with this release, the most effective way to listen to Bubix is letting the stylus of your turntable follow the spiral scratch, thereby releasing the adrenaline-fueled mayhem from the vinyl.