Feeling down? Blue, the latest album by punk rocker Ross Miller (The Dirty Nil, SIDEMAN, Northern Primitive, Single Mothers),might be the thing you need in your life. And even if it’s not, you’ll only have lost 12 minutes finding out, so what the hell, right? Out on Blacktop Records since September of 2019, and released under the name Only Attitude, it’s a well-made piece of music. Its obvious flaw is that it may only appeal to true lovers of the DIY punk aesthetic.
Miller describes Only Attitude as a creative outlet for him, and Blue, as a collection of songs written and recorded over a year. Side A is “about the stages of feeling down and how to combat the negative feelings with a positive attitude.” Side B “was created quickly and unplanned when the feeling of positivity felt far away.”
Blue kicks things off by delivering on its promise with fast, aggressive, no-nonsense punk rock being used to deliver a positive message. The juxtaposition with fast, ballsy punk is gripping. Standouts include excellent vocal delivery on “Feelin’ Blue” and “I’m Overthinkin’.” Perhaps most crucially, the message is refreshing and… Well, positive!
Side B is just two songs, but the raw emotion of “Only Anger” and “True You” is both powerful and off-putting. The sound quality takes a noticeable slip here, which is disappointing because we feel we’re missing out on perhaps the two most solid songs of the EP. “True You” has chaotic and tribal energy; the call-and-response is reminiscent of Anti-Flag.
For all of the nice things I can say about this album, its simplicity and the poor sound quality on Side B left me wanting more. Having read the album description on Bandcamp, I gained valuable insight into Miller’s process and message. Without this, I fear I would have had even more trouble appreciating his music. As things stand, I have to commend him for the powerful positive message he sends. This EP is worth a listen if only for that.
“The only thing you can try to control is your attitude and how that affects yourself and inevitably the people around you,” Miller writes. I can’t help but agree. In true DIY punk fashion, the album is available for free on Bandcamp, or you can buy one of 100 limited-edition cassette tapes. Neat!
Written by Henri Brillon
*edited by Dominic Abate