SMALL TOWN JUNKIES
Review by Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist. www.mikeocull.com
Small Town Junkies is really Ohio-based singer/songwriter David Stump. Stump creates the material and then records it with the assistance of various side players who help flesh out his strong post-grunge alternative rock sound. The latest effort from Small Town Junkies is the STJ Mixtape. The set contains 15 songs compiled from the last couple of years of STJ releases that are tuneful, lyrically solid, and inspired by the best of the original grunge/Seattle period. Stump has clearly figured out how to make memorable rock music out of simple elements and this plain spoken quality only adds to his appeal.
Stump writes songs about topics like isolation, mental illness, and addiction. His tone is dark, confessional, and cathartic, and it is easy to grasp the genuine emotion in his tracks. No matter the subject matter, Stump remains gritty and listenable and comes off like a breath of fresh overdriven air. “Underground Rock” is an instant ear worm, explicit lyrics and all, and “Hell or High Water” sounds like the result of a collaboration between Kurt Cobain and Matthew Sweet at the height of their powers. Perhaps the most significant cut on the STJ Mixtape is “Fighting the Stigma,” a song that tackles the mental illness issue directly. The song is an unflinching monologue about the difficulties and desires of those afflicted and has the support of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a group that uses the song to raise awareness of these troubling conditions.
David Stump’s STJ Mixtape is a pretty cool time for those who like meaningful rock music. Stump bleeds the blood of the 90s, putting in fine work writing songs that channel the greatness of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden while still dripping with his own unique vision. This is full-on ragged glory in action that delivers an indisputable realness of experience. Rock fans need to latch onto Small Town Junkies and play this stuff loud.
Get STJ Mixtape on Bandcamp: https://smalltownjunkies.bandcamp.com/album/stj-mixtape