Mom Jeans’ Chub Rub is Delightfully Cheeky

by Nick Hanover

Mom Jeans Chub Rub

I have a hard time giving much of a fuck about the vague anger and hostility of the most common strain of punk. It’s a lot of sweaty boys substituting volume wars for dick measuring. Who’s got time for that? I’m far more interested in the sex and body anger Mom Jeans displays on Chub Rub, a quick and dirty Pecan Crazy cassette release where the lyrical targets aren’t authority figures but stupid fucking boys, American blockbuster cinema and straight life. Chub Rub’s anger is real and identifiable, but also fun and invigorating, its damage accomplished through witty barbs and a give no fucks aesthetic instead of brutal amp settings and testosterone.

There is also a considerable amount of internal conflict in Mom Jeans’ music, which makes Chub Rub an intriguing political statement, placing personal struggles on the same level as macrocosmic issues. The album’s throughline of casual sex positivity, for instance, gets an intimate showcase on “I Want It Like That,” an acoustic number about a hook-up with a foe, where the raw lusty need for the encounter is balanced by the awareness that it’s “like trusting a klepto with my stash.” There’s also “Mesh Shirt” and its declaration that “In the future/No one likes their dad/They go visit/But they don’t talk to him,” making for a goofy, irresistibly quotable anthem against the patriarchy. “I Hate America” even helpfully suggests international cinema for you to partake in instead of dumb American movies “predominantly focused on big tits and guns.”

The ramschackle vibe Mom Jeans bring to their music also helps the cheeky lyrics come across more endearingly, presenting them as bold underdogs rather than smug trolls. Though the band’s sound is technically simple, Chub Rub offers up a number of promising styles, like the surfy thrash of “Smoke Weed” and the Cramps indebted swamp rock of “Gummo,” which reconfigures Harmony Korine’s outsider epic as a party theme. Album highlight “Donkey Kong” is probably the best representation of Mom Jeans’ flexibility, with its upbeat, jangly garage pop aesthetic perfectly matching the bittersweet nature of the lyrics, where loving someone more than Donkey Kong still doesn’t count for much if they’re perpetually too drunk to fuck.

The band is so flexible with their sound that my biggest complaint is that they don’t have more duets along the lines of “Ya Dumb Bitch,” where the singers trade barbs back and forth over the kind of hip swervy indie rock Violent Femmes so exceled at way back when. It’s a perfect sonic representation of the innate rivalry of longstanding friendships, where you love each other but also take delight in poking and prodding at each other’s weakest points and anxieties.

Chub RubB-side collects a live show they did at Beerland and it’s impressive to hear how well their sound and style translates to a live recording. That’s not just because they’re a lo-fi act either– the live recording, if anything, does even more to show the camaraderie the band has and how that connects to the audience as a kind of joyous, shared experience of self-loathing and righteous fury at everyday bullshit. Better yet, there’s not a single moment of punk bros invading spaces, bruising you with their eternally useless violence.

Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Ovrld as well as Loser City, where he mostly writes about comics. You can also flip through his archives at  Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with his friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover